Trucker lauded for 'skills of a linebacker' in tackling fleeing suspect

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, June 19, 2023:

File under 'don't try this at home': Truck driver tackles police chase suspect

A "Good Samaritan" truck driver seemingly waiting to be loaded or unloaded at a facility recently helped the Martin County (Florida) Sheriff's Office apprehend a fleeing suspect.

In a Facebook post featuring infrared video footage from a helicopter of the chase, a suspect can be seen fleeing on foot through the shipping and receiving areas of several businesses.

The MCSO said in the post that the truck driver, after seeing a line of deputies chasing the man, "with skills of a linebacker and the heart of a truck 'stop' stepped in and created the wall that people joke about hitting when they have a bad headache. And just like that, 19-year old Robert Lee Clark (the suspect) was eastbound and down."

MCSO said Clark "wasn't physically hurt, but his pride was a little injured" after taking the hit from the unnamed trucker and being placed in cuffs. He was charged with possession of a weapon with an altered serial number, resisting arrest, and tampering with evidence. 

MCSO thanked the truck driver for stepping in, but noted, "we don’t recommend engaging with fleeing suspects, just for your safety."

4,900 Peterbilt 579s recalled over alternator cable issue

Paccar is recalling approximately 4,914 model year 2022-‘23 Peterbilt 579 trucks equipped with MX-13 engines and 160-amp alternators. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents state that a fastener on the front spring bracket may have been installed with the head on the outside of the frame rail, which can chafe and damage the alternator positive cable, increasing the risk of fire.

Dealers will replace the frame fastener and secure the alternator cable, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Aug. 11. Owners can contact Peterbilt's customer service at 1-940-591-4220 with recall number 23PBD. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-423.

[Related: Potential fire at issue in two recent recalls, among others]

Tesla Semi hit with second recall

After recalling 35 of its Semi units in April due to a parking brake valve module issue, Tesla is now recalling 36 of the battery-electric trucks over an issue related to its door-open warning indicator.

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The recall says that the warning indicator only displays when the Semi’s parking brake is not engaged and the side door is not fully latched. In addition, the door closure warning system allows the operator to dismiss the notification that the side door is unlatched, which could result in driving with an unsecured door. 

As such, the trucks do not comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 206, "Door Locks and Door Retention Components."

The trucks are equipped with a door closure warning system for its rear-hinged side doors that may be operated independently of other doors, according to the recall notice's description of the issue. When the warning system detects that a side door is not fully latched and the vehicle’s parking brake is not engaged, regardless of the vehicle’s ignition status, the system will display a notification on the vehicle’s touchscreen. Because the door closure warning system on affected vehicles activates only when the parking brake is not engaged, regardless of its ignition status, and because the operator of certain affected vehicles may dismiss the notification from the door closure warning system, the trucks don't meet federal requirements.

Tesla has released an over-the-air (OTA) software update to fix the issue. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Aug. 11. Owners can contact Tesla customer service at 877-798-3752. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-422.

[Related: Tesla's 'badass' Semi torn apart by operators]

Pilot opens new travel centers in Texas, California

Pilot Company recently added two new travel centers in California and Texas, and completed more than 80 store remodels as part of its $1 billion New Horizons initiative.

By the end of the year, Pilot aims to open more than a dozen new travel centers, add over 20 dealer locations to its network, and make improvements to more than an additional 30 stores across 28 states. The expansion will add more than 600 new truck parking spaces, according to the company.

Located at 6051 S Highway 385, the Pilot travel center in Odessa, Texas, features six diesel lanes with biofuel and DEF, 39 truck parking spaces, four showers and more.

The new Pilot travel center in Rialto, California, is located at 2325 Sierra Lakes Parkway and offers eight diesel lanes with biofuel and DEF, 91 truck parking spaces, an Arby's restaurant, Cinnabon, seven showers and more.

"We're strategically building out and renovating our network with forward-thinking designs and offerings to bring a consistently best-in-class experience to the road for all drivers," said Allison Cornish, senior vice president of store modernization and development. "Every upgrade or new addition is made with our guests and team members in mind."

[Related: Truck parking reimagined: Bennett's 'Large Car Campgrounds' initiative]

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