Trucker’s accused killer goes on trial

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Trucker’s accused killer goes on trial

Posted Monday April 4, 2011 1 week, 5 days ago

Michael Haydon

Michael Haydon is accused of killing Kolbe and Kolbe truck driver Pat Zemke as he slept in the cab of his truck on an Interstate 39 off-ramp in November 2003. Prosecutors believe Haydon shot Zemke because he wrongly believed that Zemke was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend. Haydon is serving a 25-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting the woman hours before the alleged murder.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) – A two-week jury trial will finally get underway today for a Plover man charged in a trucker’s death in November 2003.

Michael Haydon’s case has been delayed at least three times – most recently in January when a Portage County judge agreed to give a defense DNA expert more time to prepare.

The 44-year-old Haydon is accused of fatally shooting Kolbe and Kolbe trucker Pat Zemke as he slept in the cab of his truck on a highway off-ramp on November 18, 2003. Prosecutors say Haydon killed Zemke out of mistaken identity, wrongly believing that Zemke was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend. Haydon is also accused of stealing Zemke’s wallet after the murder.

A jail inmate testified in a preliminary hearing in March 2009 that Haydon confessed to the murder while the two shared a cell in the Marathon County jail in 2008.

Haydon is serving a 25-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend hours before the alleged murder.

Judge Thomas Flugaur has ruled that prosecutors can use DNA evidence from dog hairs found on Zemke’s shirt. Prosecutors say the hairs came from the same breed of dog that Haydon owned.

But testing also found that hairs from three police dogs at the scene have similar characteristics known as halotypes to Haydon’s dog or his ex-girlfriend’s dog. That allows the defense to raise the possibility that the hairs in question came from the police dogs rather than a dog that Haydon had contact with.

Haydon cannot use a third-party defense at the trial. Flugaur ruled that the person Haydon named may have had a similar motive but did not have the opportunity to kill Zemke. Flugaur also found no direct evidence linking that person to the crime.


Truckers CAN Carry a Gun

April 15, 2011 3 comments

So many times we are asked “Can I carry a gun in my truck?” or we spend countless hours explaining how to do it and that it is possible. The following information is from an article in Truckers News-April Cover story called “Risky Business” this is a must read for everyone.

Can you carry a gun in your cab?

Nothing stirs a heated debate like truckers carrying firearms for protection. One of the most pervasive myths about this topic is that there’s a federal law against drivers carrying a firearm in a commercial motor vehicle. No such law exists and, in fact, there is law that says you can.

In the federal regulatory code, Title 18 Section 926(a) The Peaceable Journey
Firearms in a truck are always controversial.
In the federal regulatory code, Title 18 Section 926(a) The Peaceable Journey Act, under Part 1, Chapter 44, states:

”Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation, the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle:

“Provided, that in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

However, the federal law is not the issue. According to Allen Smith, author of Truth About Trucking (, truckers have two major hurdles to overcome on this issue: Being legal and not violating any city, county or state law of any place they will be passing through and abiding by company policy.

You have to follow the laws of the jurisdiction you travel through, including city, county and state laws. Most major trucking companies don’t allow firearms in vehicles, and many shippers and receivers absolutely forbid firearms. You can’t transport a firearm across the Canadian border and you can’t take them onto military bases.

Smith frequently addresses this topic on his Internet radio show and website and says many drivers will argue the Peaceable Journey Act protects them from violating city, county or state laws they are passing through. Smith contends local law enforcement doesn’t see it this way. They are “not interested in federal law,” Smith says. “They are only interested in upholding the laws within their jurisdiction. Furthermore, not all states recognize a concealed permit. California and New Jersey do not recognize a concealed permit to carry from Florida, and if I’m caught in California or New Jersey with a legal firearm in my truck, I’m in violation of their laws. Between restrictive company policies and a wide range of varying state and local laws, there’s a lot for a trucker to consider.”

The restrictions don’t deter some truckers. In a recent online poll, 31 percent of respondents said they carry a firearm for protection. Armed truckers interviewed for this story say they are proficient with their weapons, carefully research the laws of the states/cities where they drive and respect law enforcement.

Chuck Winborn, an owner-operator from Birmingham, Ala., has a Concealed Carry Weapon license and says he’s a responsible gun owner. The 51-year-old has been driving for 26 years and says he carries either a Glock or a Taurus 9mm or 40. He runs a dedicated route from his home state through Mississippi, Tennessee. and Arkansas, all states that have reciprocity with Alabama. He says he follows the law and keeps the gun unloaded and out of reach while driving.

“If you understand that you can only use deadly force if you are in fear of your life due to a break-in or attack, generally you will be justified in protecting yourself.” He reiterates what many truckers say, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.”

While Winborn feels safer with his weapon, he’s also an advocate of the common sense approach to security. “I park in well-lighted areas that have truck parking and never on highway ramps or secluded areas in truckstops. I always use a small ratchet strap and hook it on both door handles to prevent someone from busting my glass and opening the door. I also cover my windshields with chrome bubble insulation so no one can look inside.”

to read more please visit:

Gun Safety Rules

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment
NRA Gun Safety Rules
Available as a brochure The fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:

  • Know your target and what is beyond.
    Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.
  • Know how to use the gun safely.
    Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
    Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
    Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
    Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protectors should be worn by shooters and spectators.
  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
    Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
  • Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
    Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.
  • Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.
  • Cleaning
    Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used. A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.

    Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The gun’s action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.

Plainfield trucker found dead in Gary; autopsy slated today

April 14, 2011 3 comments

By Times Staff | Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 2:00 pm

CROWN POINT | The body of a Plainfield, Ill., truck driver was discovered Wednesday morning in an alley by a man walking his dog behind 952 Ralston St., in Gary, a spokesman for the Lake County coroner’s office said.

An investigative team from the coroner’s office was called to the scene at 9 a.m., he said.

The victim was identified as Cary T. Pyles, 48, of the 2600 block of John Bourg Drive in Plainfield.

Pyles died of blunt force trauma to the head at an unknown location. His semitrailer was found locked and running at 25th Avenue and Burr Street in Gary.

He was seen leaving the truck between 5:45 and 5:50 p.m. Tuesday night, Sgt. William Fazekas said.

An autopsy is expected to be performed today.

The case remains under investigation by the Gary Police Homicide Division and the Lake County Crime Lab.

Police urge anyone with information about this case to call (219) 881-1210.

Parked Trucker Shot In Face (March 17, 2011)

Parked Trucker Shot In Face




Posted: 5:59 am EDT March 17, 2011Updated: 7:05 am EDT March 17, 2011

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Police are looking for a man who shot a truck driver in the face early Thursday morning.Channel 2 Action News was at the scene as the bandaged victim was being loaded into an ambulance. Crime scene tape surrounded his tractor-trailer on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in south Fulton County.The driver was sitting in a parking lot doing paperwork when a man dressed in all black approached the trucker, Futon County police Cpl. Kay Lester said. Lester said the driver was shot in the face, but he was only grazed.After the shooter got away, the victim walked to a nearby Waffle House to get help.Police said they did not have a motive for the shooting. They were checking a nearby nightclub, Club Wax, to search for the shooter.

ALERT!!! Tennessee REST AREA/Pull Off WARNING-Truckers being robbed

March 31, 2011 3 comments


ÏCaution for truckers about Tennessee rest areas from The Mid-West Truckers Association and one of its members…..

The Lockridge Report

We had a driver that was robbed at a rest area/pull off in Tennessee today, on I-24 going from Nashville to Murfreesboro. He also told us there were 3 or 4 other truck drivers robbed at the same place today, all of them in the daylight hours. The robbers are coming up behind the truck driver as he’s climbing into the cab, grabbing him by the throat, covering his eyes, and then emptying his pockets. Our driver was thrown to the ground and by the time he was able to get back up, the robbers had run away. He chased them, and found his wallet and all his personal documents, except for his cash. Luckily he wasn’t hurt and was able to find his CDL, medical card, and all of his other personal items.

    • Wanted to pass this along to get the word out to remind drivers to be very cautious.

Police call man’s death suspicious (Trucker killed at Big Texan Steak Ranch)

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

AMARILLO, Texas – Potter-Randall Special Crimes Lt. Gary Trupe revealed Monday that a preliminary autopsy results show a man has died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

About 8:15 a.m. Sunday, police responded to the Big Texan Steak Ranch, 7701 E. Interstate 40, where they found the body of a man with a head injury lying near a tractor-trailer in a gravel parking lot behind the business, according to investigators.

A truck driver earlier found the man, another truck driver, dead in the parking lot of an Amarillo restaurant but it was unclear Sunday evening whether the drivers knew each other. Special Crimes responded to the scene and recovered a possible weapon, police said.

Police found Rex Douglas Stephens, 51, of Hickory Flats, Miss., in a parking lot behind the Steak Ranch, 7701 E. Interstate 40. Police said they are conducting tests on a handgun found at the scene to determine if it was used in the incident. Authorities said they are conducting the investigation into the death as if the death was a homicide.

Blood and orange paint on the gravel marked the place where the truck driver’s body was discovered. A white tractor-trailer was parked nearby, its tires surrounded by police markings.

Meanwhile, Big Texan owner Bobby Lee said employees became aware of the incident when they saw police behind the business Sunday morning. The restaurant is world-famous for its 72-ounce steak challenge. Anyone who can eat the steak with all the trimmings in an hour gets it for free.

“There was a bunch of trucks back there,” Lee said. “(Truck drivers) stop there to eat. They stop there to take a nap. They’ve stopped back there for years and years and years.”




Rex Douglas Stephens, 59, of Hickory Flat, died Sunday, March 6, 2011, in Amarillo, Texas.

He was born March 25, 1951, in Ripley to H.G. and Sue Dollar Stephens. He grew up in Blue Mountain and had lived in Hickory Flat for 41 years. Mr. Stephens was a truck driver for 40 years. He loved the Lord and attended Faith Assembly of God in Myrtle. He was a loving husband and good dad and grandfather. His hobbies included motorcycle riding, muscle cars and gun collecting. He never met a stranger.

Services were at 2 p.m. Thursday, march 10, at Faith Assembly of God in Myrtle with Bro. Tom Wiginton and Bro. Roy Bostick officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery. Glenfield Funeral Home of New Albany was in charge of the arrangements.

Survivors his wife of 41 years, Jessi Stephens of Hickory Flat; son, Shane Douglas Stephens of Tupelo; two daughters, Melissa Stephens Ayers of Hickory Flat and Kellye Stephens Parker of Etta; brother, Ricky Dean Stephens of Hickory Flat; two sisters, Dianne Stephens Wayne and Donna Stephens Hart, both of Pass Christian; and six grandchildren, Cade Ayers, Jonas Parker, Addison Parker, Lauren Parker, Grady Stephens and Jacob Stephens.

Pallbearers were Barry Grisham, Michael Wilkinson, Kevin Wayne, Matt Wayne, Max Victory and Charles Tredaway.

Memorials may be made to The Gideons.