Daily dispatch, Feb. 14: Guilty plea in trucking school bribery case; be wary of cargo theft ring in Illinois

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Feb. 14, 2020: 

Alabama trucking school owner pleads guilty to bribery charges
The former owner of an Alabama truck driving school pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to conspiring to commit bribery in relation to federal programs, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice.

DOJ says James F. Welburn, of Columbus, Georgia, the former owner of American Truck Driving Academy in Lee County, Alabama, paid bribes to a CDL examiner in exchange for the examiner showing preferential treatment to his students when they took their CDL driving exams.

Specifically, DOJ says Welburn paid $25 per student tested by the examiner. In exchange for the payments, the examiner agreed to test students who had not held learner’s permits for at least 14 days, as required by federal regulations; test more than five students in a single day, a violation of state law; and refrain from testing students on certain maneuvers if they were unlikely to be able to perform the maneuvers.

Welburn faces up to five years in prison, as well as “substantial monetary penalties and restitution,” according to DOJ.

Illinois DOT warns of cargo theft ring at I-80 rest areas
The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are warning drivers of thieves targeting truckers at two rest areas on Interstate 80.

A statement from IDOT said, “a theft ring that has impacted the westbound Three Rivers Rest Area on I-80 near Minooka for an extended period. It is now impacting the eastbound rest area as well.”

IDOT adds thieves are opening cab doors while truckers are sleeping and stealing their wallets. At the eastbound rest area, thieves are breaking into the cargo areas, according to IDOT.
“We urge truck operators to use extra caution, lock all doors and secure their loads,” IDOT added.