We all know that trucking is a job like no other. There’s fun. There’s freedom. There’s adventure.
On the other hand, anyone who has been in trucking long enough knows that there are some strange things going on. Read on to hear about some of the oddest occurrences and weirdest happenings in trucking.
1. Truck driver’s bizarre disappearance in an Arizona forest.
In 1995, Devin Williams was driving a reefer shipment to California when he suddenly veered off the road, barreling through Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, almost hitting an SUV before becoming stalled in a field.
A witness heard the 29-year-old father of three say, “I’m going to jail” and said that he had a strange, dead look on his face. Williams could not be found, though he had spoken to his wife just the day before and reported nothing unusual. When his company came to collect the truck, the cargo was completely intact and there was no sign of foul play.
Two years later, hikers found a skull in the area. Dental records confirmed it was Williams, but there were no signs of foul play.
2. Motorcyclist barely survives murder attempt by unknown truck driver.
In 1992, motorcyclist Jay Durham was riding near Little Rock one night when a truck smashed into him, then sped up to try to smash him into the back of another truck. Durham was able to escape and rolled off the side of the highway, badly hurt. The truck stopped and the driver attempted to remove the motorcycle from under his truck. Durham watched from the shadows on the side of the highway as another truck driver stopped and helped the other driver remove the motorcycle from his truck. Both drivers then looked for Durham, but then gave up, shook hands, and departed the scene. Durham was later found by a group of teens. He lost a leg during the crash. The truck driver who hit him is wanted for attempted murder, but he has never been found.
3. Mysterious “millionaire” trucker involved in $100 million real estate scam.
Jim Flaven was at one time known among East Coast truckers as one of the richest men in the country, a charming and handsome eccentric who had a $700 million family trust from his real estate mogul stepfather Stephen Karp and chose to drive trucks for the fun of it. In 2004, he convinced a real estate broker that he wanted to spend a hundred million on Texas real estate — only to be mysteriously unavailable for meetings and vague about the details. Frustrated after a year of excuses and with millions of dollars on the line, the broker called Karp, only to have him deliver this chilling sentence: “I don’t know who Jim Flaven is.”
The truth about Jim Flaven is that he was an almost completely broke trucker and con man. The lawsuits surrounding the botched real estate deal lasted for over a decade.
4. Missing truck driver discovered in dead in freezer.
Trucker Lawrence P. Muirhead was rolling from Pennsylvania to Arizona in his 2004 Freightliner but failed to show up for a scheduled delivery on October 1, 2014. Muirhead was declared missing after his truck was found abandoned in the parking lot of a Merriam, Kansas K-Mart. No one knew what happened to him until he was discovered in a freezer, having been killed by a gun shot. The locked freezer was located in a rented home in Kansas City, Kansas. The woman who lived there said her boyfriend had warned her not to look in the freezer in October, but by February, she said she became curious and smashed the lock only to find Muirhead.
The woman’s boyfriend, who suffered from terminal cancer, had been in the hospital from December until the body was discovered. The case has not yet been solved. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
5. Strike-breaking trucker slain — shooter never found.
During the 11-day truck driver strike of 1983, truck driver George Franklin Capps, who had recently been laid off, was asked to fill in for another driver on the strike. He was driving his truck along U.S. 701 in Newton Grove, North Carolina when he was shot in the throat and killed within seconds. Police believe that the shot was fired from a car heading the opposite direction. Officially, they say that they believe that the shooter intended to disable the vehicle and not to kill Capps. Two other big trucks were shot at that night.
There were hundreds of leads, but the case was never solved.
Journal of Commerce