Tennessee trucking firm owner being investigated

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The owner of a Knoxville, Tenn. trucking firm that reportedly closed its doors in March and left truckers stranded on the highway with invalid fuel cards is being investigated by the Loudon County Sheriff’s Department.

Extreme Logistics closed March 9, leaving many of its 100 or so drivers with paychecks that bounced, drivers told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Owner Joe Brandenburg has since filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

“There is a criminal investigation ongoing right now,” Scott McCluen, district attorney general for Loudon County, told the News-Sentinel. “We’re just awaiting the file, and we will review at that time for criminal charges.” Any charges would be taken to the Loudon County Grand Jury, which meets again Aug. 14, McCluen told the News-Sentinel.

Last week, a group of truckers took Brandenburg to Loudon County small claims court and won a $62,000 judgment in back pay, according to the News-Sentinel: One of those truckers, David Earling, who is due $4,800, said he has received a notice from U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Knoxville that Brandenburg filed for bankruptcy and to appear in court on May 16.

When Extreme Logistics closed its doors, some drivers were stranded hundreds of miles from home because their fuel cards were invalidated, according to the News-Sentinel: Worldwide Equipment Inc., which leased the trucks to Extreme Logistics, paid for the truckers to get home.