Paul Marhoefer’s song “Elloree” immortalizes the night that trucker Jason Rivenburg was tragically robbed and killed while sleeping at an abandoned gas station because he couldn’t find safe parking.
The stark beauty of Marhoefer’s song is perfectly accompanied by the footage captured Tex Crowley, one of the trucking industry’s leading videographers.
Jason’s Law Explained
Few things are more tragic than a senseless death– one that could have been prevented. In March 2009, truck driver Jason Rivenburg, 35, had just delivered a load in Virginia and was heading to South Carolina. Jason was ahead of schedule for his next delivery, which was only 12 miles away.
Jason was scheduled to deliver at Food Lion supermarket. The store would not accept early deliveries and would not allow Jason to park on their property and wait until his appointed time, so Jason pulled into an abandoned gas station– the only place with available parking in the area.
Willie Pelzer was a thug, a career felon. Pelzer was at a gas station across the road from the abandoned gas station Jason had parked at. Authorities believe Pelzer was looking for someone to rob. He noticed Jason’s truck and crossed the street, and climbed under Jason’s trailer to wait for him to go to sleep. At approximately 10:30 that night, Pelzer entered Jason’s truck and shot him twice in the head. Pelzer walked away with $7.00.
Just thirteen days after Jason’s murder, his wife Hope delivered twins. Jason left behind a wife and three children.
The death of Jason Rivenburg was senseless. Had the receiver allowed Jason to park on their lot and wait to deliver, or had more truck parking been available in the area, Jason may still be alive today.
Jason’s Law Was Born
Jason’s wife Hope found purpose in tragedy. Hope was on a mission to provide safe parking for truck drivers. She began lobbying for change. Congressman Paul Tonko, with the support of Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MT), introduced Jason’s Law on April 28th, 2009; however, Congress did not get a chance to vote on the bill.
On May 5th, 2009 Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand also introduced Jason’s Law as S 1187. to the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Although the bill was widely supported, funds were not available, so the bill did not make it to the floor.
Three years and more failed attempts later, Jason’s Law finally passed.
In 2020, the Federal Highway Commission released the results of the updated Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey. Please click here for more information.