No word on Arrow driver dozens said to be still unaccounted

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PostWed Jan 06, 2010 7:02 pm » by Forestgrove111

No word on Arrow drive of dozens said to be still unaccounted for ... eekb569066
By D.R. STEWART World Staff Writer
Published: 1/6/2010 2:26 AM
Last Modified: 1/6/2010 4:59 AM

Read the stories and view the documents related to the problems facing Arrow Trucking.

A week before Christmas — four days before Arrow Trucking Co. closed its doors and stranded hundreds of drivers and their freight at truck stops and rest areas around the country — Arrow driver John Eischens called his mother.

He asked her for a bus ticket home.

"Arrow bounced John's last two paychecks and cut off all advances in the week prior to the shutdown," said Marie AuBuchon, a driver for KLLM Transport Services of Jackson, Miss., and a member of a loose-knit national effort to return stranded Arrow drivers to their homes.

"John only worked for them for about a month. He would have had no money for food or shelter."

Eischens' mother is old school, AuBuchon said. She convinced her son that Arrow would make good on the money it owed him, that you owe the company loyalty and shouldn't abandon it during tough times, AuBuchon said.

Nineteen days after Eischens called his mother, and 15 days after Arrow's lenders canceled company fuel credit cards, the Arrow driver is missing, said AuBuchon and volunteers at "Support for Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers."

The organization can be reached on the Internet or through Facebook links.

On Tuesday, authorities found Eischens' truck at a truck stop in Montana, AuBuchon said.

"Mr. Eischens cleaned the truck out and turned the keys in to the truck stop staff," she said. "This was Christmas Day. No word from him and no sighting of him since. (By) his family's account, this is a family-oriented man, and for him not to call on Christmas or since Arrow's shutdown rings some serious warning bells."

Arrow executives have turned off their cell phones and have not returned calls seeking comment on Eischens, Arrow drivers or the company's future.

Dozens of Arrow drivers, more than 100 trucks and several hundred trailers are unaccounted for, former company drivers, employees and industry officials said.

James Ryan, a spokesman for Daimler Truck Financial, said Eischens is not on Daimler's list of drivers of Arrow's Freightliner or Kenworth trucks.

Sara Mee, spokeswoman for Navistar Financial Corp., which leased Arrow's International trucks, said the company could not discuss how many trucks it leased to the Tulsa flatbed carrier, how many have been returned or who drove them.

"We can't release information on that based on the terms of our contract with Arrow," Mee said.

After Arrow closed its offices and suspended operations Dec. 22, Daimler Truck Financial notified Arrow drivers via the Internet that if they returned their Freightliners or Kenworths to the nearest dealer, they would be provided by Daimler with a Greyhound bus ticket home or $200.

A few days later, Navistar made the same offer to drivers of Arrow's International trucks.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Daimler Truck Financial had secured 823, or 85.1 percent, of its 967 Freightliner or Kenworth trucks, Ryan said.

"I can't tell you for sure where those 144 (trucks) are," Ryan said. "We have secured 185 trailers. There were 614 trailers out.

"The numbers (of returned trucks and trailers) are slowing."

Mee said calls from Arrow drivers wanting to turn in International trucks and trailers are down significantly from last week or the week before.

"We don't know the status of all of it at this point, but we have been gradually recovering some of it," Mee said.

Asked when Navistar expects to recover the remainder of its equipment, Mee said, "That's a good question."

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