Wrecker formerly known as Lethal rear-ends Hook reporter

Can't get right indeed! Wrecker driver Chris Hening, who rear-ended a Hook reporter's car today.
PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR

Here at the Hook we're not big believers in karma, but when a Cavalier Wrecker truck, formerly Lethal Wrecker, rear-ends the car of a Hook reporter, we have to wonder. Over the years, the newsroom has reported on the towing company numerous times, including when they overcharged and when their drivers have been repeatedly indicted for reckless driving. (For a collection of Lethal Wrecker stories, click here.) Not surprisingly, the company changed its name to Cavalier Wrecker last year, though the owner of the wrecker in today's accident was listed as Lethal Wrecker in the police accident report.

Fortunately, Hook reporter Lindsay Barnes and the two other drivers involved were uninjured at the time of the accident, though a two-month-old baby in one of the cars required some observation by paramedics on the scene.

According to Barnes, he was driving along Emmet Street South, right in front of the UVA tennis courts, when he slowed down for traffic. Suddenly, Cavalier Wrecker driver Chris Hening rear-ended him with enough force to send his car smashing into the car in front of him, and that car into the car in front of it, a minivan that suffered a smashed rear door and window. Barnes says Hening stepped out of the truck to see if everyone was okay, gave the other drivers Cavalier's phone number, but then announced he had to return to the main office. Barnes insisted he not leave the scene of an accident, but Hening drove off as Barnes called 911. Hening, however, returned about 20 minutes later, says Barnes, just before police arrived to take statements.

At the scene, Hening claimed that Barnes had been talking on his cell phone and had "locked up his brakes," but Barnes says he was not on his cell phone and was simply slowing down in front of traffic. Looking at the wrecker's front tires, this Hook reporter noticed they were nearly bald. By about 4pm, Charlottesville Police found Hening liable. Though the wrecker had suffered no visible damage, another Cavalier Wrecker driver showed up to tow Hening and his truck away from the scene.

Charlottesville fireman Nick Barrell attends to a two-month old baby girl feared injured in the accident. Later Barrell determined she would be fine.
PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR

16 comments

I think they should check everyone's cell phone records, including Hening's. (I'd be curious what he may have disposed of when he left if anything)

Too many people causing accidents these days because of cell phone overuse while driving. These cell abuser are wreckless, selfish and incosiderate when allowed behind the wheel. Has no one lerned from the LA train wreck? WHERE ARE THE LAWS or has the cell lobby crush all efforts to do what is right?

If the police do their job properly then they will as a matter of proper investigation call the DOT and make sure that the truck passes all requirements for tow trucks. This is absolutely a proper method of gathering evidence. If they don't then the Hook should request it based on the visual allegation of bald tires. They hopefully took pictures of the tires too before they swap them out. A subpeona of the phone records will show whether or not he was on the phone.

Lethal has screwed enough people in this town and turnabbout is fair play.

why did it take the police so long to get to the scene of the accident? when Chris Hening left the accident and returned, he should of been cited and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Who's to say that when he left he didn't swap out vehicles or dispose of some substance(drugs) that was in the vehicle? Thank god the baby was ok.

Ms Brown, I can tell you from personal experience that it appears as if a whole lot of emphasis is not put into investigating accidents or placing charges in this city any longer. Unless of course the accident involves a police car and they need to charge the other party involved so as to CYOA. Like in the Silva/Austin case and the Mitchell case recently, prime examples. The bogus charges in both of those cases were dismissed. And 2 of the 3 named above had to spend the night in jail if I recall correctly.

About three years ago a parts delivery truck ran a red light and broadsided my wife and daughter at Rose Hill Drive and Preston Avenue. The truck driver told the police he didn't know what had happened. My wife and daughter said he had run a red light, he had admitted fault to them within seconds of the accident happening, and apologized to them before the police arrived. Witnesses who stopped to check on my wife and daughter also said my wife had the green light, but they left the scene because they did not want to have to appear in court (it's really a shame, nobody wants to get involved nowadays). The entire traffic division of the city police department at the scene still refused to charge the truck driver.

Before it was all over and done with, the truck driver had told 3 different tales. 1) He admitted fault to my wife and daughter, 2) he told the cops he didn't know what had happened once they arrived on the scene, and 3) within hours he had told his insurance company my wife had run the red light.

I have always cautioned my wife to look both ways before proceeding into an intersection on a green light to make sure everybody has stopped for their red light. There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my wife had a green light. If my wife had indeed had a red light, how could she possibly have made it across three lanes of traffic before finally being hit in the fourth lane? I also drum this into my daughter's head now that she has just gotten his first new vehicle and is driving now.

There is also no doubt in my mind that if a Virginia state trooper could have responded to and investigatd this accident, charges would have been placed against the truck driver.

The end result was my insurance company had to pay all damages because the accident was not properly innvestigated.

If I am ever involved in a traffic accident in the city or county, and for reasons I don't really need to go into detail about here, I anticipate no problem whatsoever getting a Virginia state trooper to respond and investigate it.

LethalMyA$$, who would enforce a cell phone ban while driving? The police? Heck, they are the worst violators. When is the last time you have seen a police car where the driver didn't have a cell phone up to their ear? And of course if a cell phone law does come down the pike, the police will be exempted. Just like they are in many other laws.

ImpoundVictim, all I can say is you sure are expecting a lot. I agree with you, but you sure are expecting a lot. Once again, if a Virginia state trooper had responded to this accident I think he/she most certainly would have towed this vehicle in for a safety inspection since it is a commercial vehicle -- it it's legal to do so. IMHO, there would have been no stone unturned since this was such a heavy vehicle causing a 4 car accident.

I'm not saying this isn't a fun read, but is it really appropriate to make a fender bender into a journalistic event?

Rich, I think it's quite interesting. And the best is yet to come. You don't think Lethal and their insurance company is ever going to admit fault, do you? Seems like Lethal has already blamed the driver they rear ended. Had just a little more speed been involved I suspect there would have been some serious injuries. And it won't be the first time Lethal has maimed or injured somebody on the highways.

Yes this article probably shouldn't be "news", but even so:

Talking on a cell phone while driving is foolish. But no matter how fast Barnes stopped, it's the person who's following's responsibility to leave enough distance to stop. Wrecker truck driver clearly at fault.

I had a friend who parked on a hill outside my house and a Lethal Wrecker came to tow it (it was a no-parking..enforced by the homeowners association..zone) and pulled in front of their car and forgot to put on emergency brake as he leaped out of the truck in order to hook up my friends car and beat feet out of there. Naturally the truck slammed into the front of my friends car causing damage. The Lethal driver gave my friend and the cop that came to the scene the total run-around about not knowing what their insurance information was and yadda yadda and the cop forced my friend to accept just the business card of the Lethal driver. His insurance company spent 8 months trying to track down who their insurance company was and finally gave up. Those people are crooked and deserve any ounce of bad karma they get. What comes around, goes around in life.

They are all crooked anyway!
It doesn't matter what you change your name to there all thieiving
peices of crap.
Lethal=Cavalier=douchebags

Hey Rambo what happened to your badcopnews website?? Are you having withdrawals? I just noticed it was down. Maybe you should start your own now??

My website? It wasn't mine. I'm not sure what happened to it.

No, I am not having withdrawals yet. It was just the same sad stories over and over, day after day. Cops getting arrested for murder. Cops getting arrested for rape. Cops getting arrested for stealing money and drugs. Cops arrested for DUI, often in department issued vehicles. And often resulting in death to innocent civilians. No matter how much I loved reading about cops committing the same crimes all over the country, it really was getting boring.

If you are missing website though, all you have to do each day is punch into Google the search words "cop arrested", "police officer arrrested", "officer charged", etc... and you get the same stories BadCopNews used to post every day. One of the worst in the last 24 hours was a 36 year old school resource officer in Massachusetts having inappropriate text conversations with teenage girls in the school he was assigned. The chief has already claimed he is a good police officer and that no physical contact took place. So I guess that makes it OK?

You can also go to any of the police forums and read about cops being arrested and for what. It's fun watching them claim there was no wrongdoing and defending their own every time a cop is arrested. The taser subjects are the funniest. Which reminds me.... a NYPD Lt. committed suicide the other day after he violated department policy in regards to use of a taser. His command issued to a subordinate resulted in the death of a civilian, so the Lt. killed himself. Ya see, I stay on top of all of it, BadCopNews or no BadCopNews.

Let me rephrase that. I'm not suggesting it was "your" website, just meaning that it is one of your favorites. Is this the taser incident where the cop shot the guy on the ledge and he fell off and landed on his head and died? I saw that on TV.

First it was Courteney Stuart's ALMOST meeting with Paul Newman, as if she was his mistress, when she was nothing short of a stalker. Now some idiot reporter's accident is major city news. What a joke this paper is, no wonder you are where you are! In the FREE BOX!

Hi Chris Hening.
I like your work. Do you do requests?
There's a few other Hook reporters cars I'd like to see trashed if you can find the time.
Thanks buddy.

Yes, Correction. That's probably the same event. By department policy a taser is not to be used if there's a chance a suspect could fall a greater distance than his/her own height.

I can't believe how stupid people are acting here now. Justin soliciting somebody to perform criminal acts. The lible involved in the other idiot publicly accusing Courteney Stuart of being a stalker. I was always unnder the impression that she was a really nice person. Courteney has definitely suffered damages. If called to testify, I would have to state under oath that I want nothing to do with Courteney, do not wish to talk with her, and do not ever want her calling me for an interview -- now that I have been told she is a stalker.

LethalMyA$$, speaking of cell phones and driving, I mentioned cops are the worst violators, remember? Well, take a look at this video. And because of what he was saying on the cell phone, the deputy had little choice but to resign. And trust me, racism is alive and well in law enforcement. For those who never believed what I said about racism in law enforcement, this video says it all. Absolutely unexcusable!

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7e4_1223130840

Deputy resigned after using profanity, racial slurs during cell phone conversation caught on dash cam
October 2, 2008 (Augusta) - On July 2th Deputy Wesley Powell made a traffic stop.
It was recorded by the dash cam in the patrol car and investigators say the stop is handled perfectly and by the book.

However, seconds after Powell gets back in his patrol car things take a turn.

According to a disciplinary report Powell leaves the camera on and the microphone inside the vehicle is still More.. on when he gets a call on his cell phone. Powell’s side of the conversation is recorded.

Here he describes a traffic stop he made involving an African American woman.

Powell: ââ?¬Å?I got this girl the other day. She had a d*** little n***** in the backseat.
This thing wasn’t even old enough to crawl yet. I know she didn’t have seatbelt on neither.

I was going to give her a verbal warning you know, strap that monkey in the backseat. You got a booster seat back there, put that monkey in the booster seat.

On the tape Powell uses profanity, racial slurs and makes sexual comments.

Powell: ââ?¬Å?Not only am I going to sexually assault her. I’m going f*** her with the d*** barrel of my d*** glock.”

The conversation was discovered on September 16th by the solicitor’s office when the DVD was being played by a defense attorney looking for a traffic stop made that day.

The DVD was then brought to the attention of the Sheriff’s office and then to Internal affairs.

The entire conversation lasts 15 minutes.

Powell: ââ?¬Å?If you hadn’t been out here running your ignorant a** Mouth you’d been on your way to wherever the f*** you’re going to buy your crack, have another baby by an illegitimate father or some other kind of sh**.”

In 2003 Powell had been disciplined for making a racist statement to an inmate. He was suspended for a day.

The 30-year-old resigned before Internal Affairs could take the recording to a review board.

Powell: ââ?¬Å?How you doing a**hole. How much of a fine do ya’ll want today?”