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Trucker with multiple job honors arrested for production of child porn

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Michael Dewayne Sheeds, shown here in a photo taken for a newspaper article about his being named a Citizen Driver honoree, remains in jail following his arrest May 22 on a federal production of child pornography charge. (The Trucker file photo)

BANDERA, Texas — A recipient of multiple trucking honors has been arrested on a federal production of child pornography charge.

Members of the San Antonio Child Exploitation Task Force arrested a 62-year-old Michael Dewayne Sheeds on May 22, according to United States Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; and Bandera County Sheriff Dan Butts.

Bandera is some 40 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Sheeds, who spent 32 years as a truck driver,had become well known within the trucking community after he was chosen as an honoree for the TravelCenters of America/Petro Stopping Centers Citizen Driver award in 2015 and the Pilot Flying J Road Warrior award for 2017.

Sheeds, who drove for Werner Enterprises, was named to the American Trucking Association’s America’s Road Team for 2017-18.

As part of the Citizen Driver award, the Petro off Interstate 10 in San Antonio, Texas, was renamed the Michael Sheeds Petro Stopping Center.

Sheeds told The Trucker in an interview in 2015 that he chose the San Antonio Petro to be renamed in his honor because “I get home every weekend and usually during the summer, once or twice a week I meet the girls (his wife and four daughters) at the Petro and we get to be family.” Sadly, LandLine Magazine reported that following Sheeds’ initial arrest, his wife died on March 4. Authorities said the final toxicology report is pending, but the preliminary investigation determined the death to be a suicide.

The “permanence” of having a truck stop named for him, knowing it will be there “forever,” is “overwhelming,” he said. “It will be there when my girls are grown.”

The TA/Petro website no longer shows Sheeds as a Citizen Driver honoree.

He also was removed from Pilot’s list of Road Warrior winners.

Authorities said the investigation that led to Sheeds’ arrest began in early January, when the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into Sheeds’ activities.

After discovering Sheeds had allegedly sexually assaulted an underage female, the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office obtained an arrest warrant charging Sheeds with sexual assault of a child. Sheeds was located in Laredo, and arrested by Webb County Sheriff’s Office deputies on January 7, 2019, and has remained in the Bandera County Jail on the state charge.

In the course of the investigation, deputies obtained a Texas state search warrant for Sheeds’ vehicle, discovered several mobile devices and sought the FBI’s assistance in reviewing the digital evidence.

According to the federal complaint, the FBI recovered child pornography on the defendant’s cell phone and arrested Sheeds May 22.

The production of child pornography charge carries a penalty of a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

 

 

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve Pokorny

    June 2, 2019 at 6:25 am

    And where did his desire for child pornography come from? “Ordinary” pornography.

    In truth, pornography is anything but ordinary. It’s not sex, but merely a lustful fantasy, and even if it were sex, it was never designed to be watched but participated in by a husband and wife who are committed to each other for life.

    Pornography destroys our capacity for intimacy, what we were looking for first in searching for such images. Because of the chemicals that are stirred up in the brain, particularly with dopamine receptors, a new normal is created, and thus a viewer needs more and more harder image to try to be satisfied. I’ve seen this countless times with my clients with clients with Freedom Coaching (freedom-coaching.net), who are experience incredible guilt and shame, and their compulsion has destroyed relationships they were really caring about.

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The Nation

Colorado mountain safety effort includes Dryvewyze, PrePass, motor carrier group

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A tractor-trailer straddles a runaway truck ramp along I-70 in Colorado. One of the Colorado ramps, the Lower Straight Creek runaway truck ramp on westbound I-70 at milepost 211.83 is the most used truck ramp in the United States, being used once a week on average during the summer months. (Courtesy: COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Motor Carriers Association and in-cab driver alert providers, PrePass Safety Alliance and Drivewyze are coming together to help enhance safety for truckers traveling through the state’s mountainous areas.

The Mountain Rules is a comprehensive, strategic and safety-focused effort to inform and educate in-state and interstate trucking companies and drivers on the challenges of driving in Colorado’s mountains.

It includes information on potential hazards, and a consistent reminder on the need to be

slow, steady, and safe for the long haul.

“It’s no secret that our mountains create immense challenges for semi-truck drivers,” said CDOT

Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “The Mountain Rules has a simple mission — get everyone home safely — and this campaign, which supports CDOT’s Whole Safety – Whole System initiative, is a major step towards achieving that goal.”

In addition to an educational effort, The Mountain Rules consists of infrastructure and informational improvements, including:

  • Signing eastbound Interstate 70 and all eastbound chain stations, east of the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels, with information on the brake check locations for truckers.
  • Restriping the wide eastbound exit ramp at the Genesee Park Interchange into a more-defined short-term truck parking area where overheated brakes can cool down and equipment checks can take place prior to the final descent into the Golden area.
  • A new subscription-based, in-cab alert system, warning truck drivers about specific areas where brake failures could occur, and the location of brake check and runaway truck ramps.
  • Information gathering on the feasibility of a new ramp and other measures to mitigate runaway trucks, such as geometric and signage improvements to the existing Mount Vernon Canyon Truck Runaway Ramp.

“I want to dispel any misconceptions, myths or rumors about truck ramps for all commercial carriers who travel our mountain corridors,” said CSP Col. Matthew Packard. “Commercial carriers will not be cited by law enforcement for using truck ramps. Should your brakes fail, please save lives, and use the ramps.”

The I-70 Mountain Corridor will be the initial pilot for The Mountain Rules. CDOT then will expand the program to other mountainous locations.

“Our mountains, and the highways winding through them, provide some of the greatest vistas in the world and make Colorado special,” said the Chairman of the CMCA Jim Coleman. “These same roadways, such as I-70, pose a particular challenge for truck drivers and truck brakes, with long and steep downgrades of up to 7% percent. This outreach effort and program will go a long way in educating truck drivers of how to navigate through our mountains, which will enhance safety for all highway users.”

Drivewyze said with its alerts subscribers will have their drivers receive in-cab alerts of upcoming safe locations to pull over for brake check inspections and see prompts to gear low while showing suggested maximum speeds down steep grades. It will also alert drivers of upcoming runaway ramps. Colorado was Drivewyze’s first state in the new alert program. Seven Colorado mountain passes are part of the Drivewyze Safety

According to Brian Mofford, vice president of government experience at Drivewyze, Colorado’s I-70 west, which goes from Vail Pass from the west through Eisenhower Tunnel (elevation 11,158) to Mt. Vernon Canyon to the east, represents 60 miles of difficult driving. “It’s a challenge for truck drivers with steep grades and heavy traffic, especially for those new to mountain driving,” he said. “Drivers have to be in tune with their surroundings, check their brakes and be prepared for constant downshifting and speed control. Brakes can get hot and fail for those who are not ready. It’s why we also have notifications for runaway ramps as a last resort safeguard for a safe stop. Our alerts will help keep preparations top of mind to help keep truck drivers and the motoring public safer.”

PrePass said its alerts are a feature of the MOTION weigh station bypass mobile application. The alerts notify truck drivers of steep grades ahead from a distance of approximately five miles away, and also notify them as they approach any of five runaway truck ramps along the route. Drivers will also receive alerts for seven sites along I-70 where they can perform brake checks and/or during winter, complete truck tire chain-ups or removals.

“These dynamic alerts will improve highway safety by notifying truck drivers well in advance of steep grades and sites where they can check their brakes,” said Terry Maple, regional director for PrePass Safety Alliance. Maple, former Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, said the additional alerts will minimize distractions because they require no interaction on the part of the driver.

I-70 is known as having one of the country’s most difficult passes for truck drivers. An out-of-control runaway truck in April slammed into stopped traffic near Lakewood, killing four people. Other tragedies have been averted thanks to truck drivers using the corridor’s five runaway truck ramps along the route. The Lower Straight Creek runaway truck ramp along westbound I-70 at milepost 211.83 is the most used truck ramp in the United States, being used once a week on average during the summer months.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Canadian study identifies speed as best predictor of car crashes

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Researchers said when crash cases were compared to the control cases using a sophisticated penalty system for four kinds of bad driving, speeding emerged as the key difference between them. (Courtesy: UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO)

WATERLOO, Ontario, Canada — Speeding is the riskiest kind of aggressive driving, according to a unique analysis of data from on-board devices in vehicles.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo examined data from 28 million trips for possible links between four bad driving behaviors – speeding, hard braking, hard acceleration and hard cornering – and the likelihood of crashes.

Their analysis revealed speeding is a strong predictor of crashes, while statistically significant links for the other kinds of aggressive driving couldn’t be established.

“For insurance companies using this telematics data to assess who is a good risk and who isn’t, our suggestion based on the data is to look at speed, at people driving too fast,” said Stefan Steiner, a statistics professor in Waterloo’s faculty of mathematics.

Data for the study came from insurance companies in Ontario and Texas with clients who had on-board diagnostic devices installed in their vehicles.

In the first study of its kind, researchers initially analyzed the data to identify 28 crashes based on indicators such as rapid deceleration.

Each vehicle in those crashes was then matched with 20 control vehicles that had not been in crashes, but were similar in terms of other characteristics, including geographic location and driving distance.

Steiner said when the crash cases were compared to the control cases using a sophisticated penalty system for the four kinds of bad driving, speeding emerged as the key difference between them.

“Some of the results are no surprise, but prior to this we had a whole industry based on intuition,” said Allaa (Ella) Hilal, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Now it is formulated. We know aggressive driving has an impact.”

Steiner cautioned that the study was limited by several unknowns, such as different drivers using the same vehicle, and more research is needed to verify the results.

But he said the analysis of telematics data could eventually revolutionize the insurance industry by enabling fairer, personalized premiums based on actual driving behavior, not age, gender or location.

Hilal believes the data could also make roads safer by giving drivers both tangible evidence and financial incentives to change.

“Having this information exposed and understood allows people to wrap their minds around their true risks and improve their driving behaviors,” she said. “We are super pumped about its potential.”

Manda Winlaw, a former mathematics post-doctoral fellow, and statistics professor Jock MacKay also collaborated on the study, using telematics data to find risky driver behaviour, which appears in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

NATSO releases industry guide addressing top industry questions

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NATSO said "Answers to the Top 18 Questions about the Travel Center Industry" is an essential resource for data on travel center and truckstop industry operations. (Courtesy: NATSO)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NATSO, representing America’s travel plazas and truckstops, has released a detailed industry guide  answering the top questions about the travel center industry.

Industry knowledge can improve business performance and help operators drive targeted results, according to Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president, membership.

But finding answers isn’t always easy. This is why Schulte dug into the more frequently asked questions about the truckstop and travel center industry and answered them in this new industry guide.

“Answers to the Top 18 Questions about the Travel Center Industry” is an essential resource for data on travel center and truckstop industry operations, Schulte said. The guide contains comparable data that operators can utilize to assess their own operations and better understand the competitive landscape. Operators can then use this information to improve their analysis and strategize advantageous investment decisions.

With the report in hand, operators can gain greater insight into the average sales at a full-service restaurant or a garage or service center, how much a professional truck driver spends on fuel at a truckstop, average staffing costs at a location, and specific sales and costs within a location.

The downloadable “Answers to the Top 18 Questions About the Travel Center Industry” is available for free to NATSO members and non-members for $250.

To download or purchase the guide, click here. 

“The Answers to the Top 18 Questions About the Travel Center Industry” was produced in partnership with Travel Center Profit Drivers, a NATSO initiative that provides access to specialized, experienced consultants and the tools they have created to help travel centers thrive. Truckstop and travel center operators looking for help building or growing their business should contact Don Quinn, NATSO Services vice president, at (703) 739-8572 or dquinn@natso.com to discuss how the NATSO team can help.

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