Wrecker formerly known as Lethal rear-ends Hook reporter
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.