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Hyderabadi cigarette thieves flee with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore

Hyderabadi cigarette thieves flee with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore

Hyderabad,August21: In what seems like a scene straight from a movie, a gang of men robbed a container truck and fled with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore on Sunday morning. The truck (KA 2 AD 1220), was transporting cigarettes from Musheerabad to Tirupati.

The driver, Akhilesh Yadav, 27, a native of Bihar, was employed by a company called Coastal Roadlines. He started out on Saturday at 10.30 pm. As he reached the Outer Ring Road early on Sunday morning, two TATA Sumos and a lorry started tailing him and eventually halted his truck near Pedda Amberpet.

 About 30 men approached the truck. Eight of them got on board and assaulted the driver, tied him up and one of them drove the truck, said Inspector J. Narender Goud of the Hayathnagar police.

After driving for about half an hour, Akhilesh was taken to a forested area, and held there for another hour while the cigarette load was transferred. The robbers then left, abandoning him and his lorry. He managed to untie and reached the main road and contacted the police.

Police is examining the CCTV footage along the route. “The video is blurry and we are enhancing it to get information about the heist,” Mr Goud said.

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Death, injury drive push for blue lights on tow trucks

Tow truck operator John McDonald was driving through East Rochester when he turned to his passenger and said, “The doctors told me there’s no reason for me to be here. I should’ve been killed.”

McDonald doesn’t know how fast the car that clipped him as he worked on the shoulder of Interstate 490 was traveling that December morning in 2008. All he remembers is being flung onto the hood and his head smashing the windshield.

“I never saw him coming,” he said.

It is also quite possible the driver never saw McDonald or his tow truck, at least not in time to avoid hitting him.

McDonald, a 49-year-old married father of two from Irondequoit, could be a poster child for a push in Albany for passage of a so-called “Blue Light Bill” that would allow tow truck drivers to flash blue lights on the back of their trucks while making roadside calls.

But McDonald is one of thousands of tow truck drivers across the country who have had brushes with death in the course of their work. Dozens are killed every year.

Tow trucks are covered by the state’s “Move Over Law,” which was adopted in 2011 and requires drivers to slow down or move over when they see an emergency vehicle, like a police car or fire truck or ambulance, stopped on the shoulder of the road.

The law did not originally include tow trucks, but was later amended. Sanitation trucks and highway maintenance vehicles have also since been added.

Unlike emergency vehicles, however, tow trucks are prohibited by law from using blue lights to draw attention to themselves while working on the roadside.

What tow truck operators want are rear-facing blue lights on their trucks that can be turned on when they stop to assist a motorist. None is asking for blue lights in the front of the trucks, which, if illuminated, could be confused with the lights of a police cruiser.

More: ‘Move Over’ law expands[1]

More: Fewer NY drivers ticketed for move-over violations[2]

Their flashing yellow lights, tow truck drivers say, are not enough to keep them visible or other drivers mindful of them. Flashing yellow lights are on construction vehicles, snow plows, sanitation trucks and commercial vans.

“Because everybody in the world can have a yellow light, it’s not respected,” said Tina Lyon, a tow truck driver from Warners, in Onondaga County, and a vocal supporter of the “Blue Light Bill.” “People are so used to seeing yellow lights flashing, they ignore them and don’t move over.”

Companion bills introduced in the Senate and Assembly in the most recent legislative session nearly made it to the floor this year for a vote.

But the Assembly bill was held by its lead sponsor, Michael DenDekker, a Democrat from Long Island, after concerns were raised over whether adding a class of vehicle to those that can display blue lights could inadvertently weaken the “Move Over Law” for vehicles still only permitted to have yellow lights.

“Are we going to impose a whole new idea of going away from flashing yellow toward flashing blue?” asked DenDekker, a former tow truck driver. “It can open a can of worms and that’s not my intention.”

A recent state publicity campaign has raised awareness of the “Move Over Law.” The campaign, launched last year, included television ads and signs along the Thruway reminding motorists to move or slow down for stopped vehicles with flashing lights.

Sen. Joe Robach, a Republican from Greece who introduced the companion bill advocating blue lights for tow trucks in the Senate, said the campaign helped but that enabling motorists to better spot stopped vehicles remained a concern.

“Moving to a blue light could only further help drivers notice the emergency vehicles,” Robach said.

Both legislators were hopeful their bills would be adopted in the next legislative session that ends next summer.

There is no reliable data on the number of tow truck operators who are struck by passing cars while working on the roadside.

But the International Towing and Recovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which memorializes tow truck operators killed on its “Wall of the Fallen,” estimates a driver is fatally injured in the United States every six days — more than one a week.

“This year, as of right now, we have 26 names going on the wall and with the exception of one all of them were killed this year,” said Cathy Brumgard, the museum’s membership director.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 6,000 crashes on the shoulders of American highways resulted in injury in 2015, including 477 fatalities.

Thomas Brennan, president of the Empire State Towing and Recover Association, estimated hundreds of the injured were tow truck drivers.

“The problem is the yellow lights are obscured and nobody pays attention to them,” Brennan said. “Most people say, ‘I didn’t see them.’ I don’t know if that’s their excuse after they run us over or what.”

In December, tow truck driver Troy Kellogg was seriously injured while loading a vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 90 near Victor. 

Some tow truck outfits in New York have begun to defy the law and equip their trucks with rear-facing blue lights.

Jamie Ricci, who owns Ricci & Sons Towing in East Rochester, which employs McDonald, installed blue lights on some of his trucks over a year ago.

He said he was ticketed once in Ontario County and that a judge threw out the $150 fine with a warning to remove the blue lights.

“With the number of tow truck drivers that have been killed, I’ll take the ticket, I’ll take the fine for the safety of my drivers,” Ricci said. “The law has got to get passed. Somehow it’s got to.”

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Dacoits loot truck with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore

THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 21,2017 , 05:54 AM IST

 Choutuppal (Yadadri district): Dacoits  waylaid and looted a truck laden with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore at Malkapuram under Choutuppal mandal in Yadadri-Bhongir district in the early hours of Sunday.  The broad daylight dacoity took the police by surprise. 

The police said the container was on its way to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh from Musheerabad in Hyderabad with a load of cigarettes. Truck driver Akilesh Yadav told the police that as many as 20 persons, who overtook his container by a sports utility vehicle. 

The miscreants stopped the truck and forced their entry into it. When the cigarette-laden truck reached Malkapuram, the offenders thrashed the driver and took him to a hilly terrain on outskirts of Choutuppal where he was left.  The dacoits shifted the cigarettes into another vehicle and made off with the booty. The driver managed to reach the Choutuppal police station and reported the matter. Clues team was pressed into service to collect evidence from the spot.


 Choutuppal (Yadadri district): Dacoits  waylaid and looted a truck laden with cigarettes worth Rs 4 crore at Malkapuram under Choutuppal mandal in Yadadri-Bhongir district in the early hours of Sunday.  The broad daylight dacoity took the police by surprise. 

The police said the container was on its way to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh from Musheerabad in Hyderabad with a load of cigarettes. Truck driver Akilesh Yadav told the police that as many as 20 persons, who overtook his container by a sports utility vehicle. 

The miscreants stopped the truck and forced their entry into it. When the cigarette-laden truck reached Malkapuram, the offenders thrashed the driver and took him to a hilly terrain on outskirts of Choutuppal where he was left.  The dacoits shifted the cigarettes into another vehicle and made off with the booty. The driver managed to reach the Choutuppal police station and reported the matter. Clues team was pressed into service to collect evidence from the spot.

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