Daughter of Slain Trucker Issues Chilling Warning to Truck Drivers
Birmingham, AL – The daughter of a trucker murdered last month along an Alabama interstate is speaking out about the rise in violence against truckers.
In an email to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) last week, Clara Thomas, daughter of slain trucker Christine Summers, expressed deep sadness over her family’s recent loss and urged truckers to be vigilant about their safety while over-the-road now more than ever.
“I appreciate greatly the article you have published,” Thomas wrote to TNN. “If you would please do me a favor and try to warn drivers that it’s too dangerous to be nice anymore.”
Thomas, who earned her commercial driver’s license (CDL) in 2016, says her mother along with her late husband taught her how to drive.
However, she says her days of driving a big rig could be over.
“Now, I don’t know if I’ll ever drive again because of what happened,” she stated.
Summers, a trucker for more than 30 years, was brutally murdered on Wednesday, August 19.
The family stated she was talking with her husband Lamar while on her headset as she was traveling I-59/20.
She told him she thought she may have hit someone.
Local news outlet AL.com reported Summers got off the phone with Lamar to call 9-1-1 and exited her truck.
Upon exiting, she allegedly encountered 39-year-old Charles Levester Gipson.
Gipson then allegedly attacked Summers, unprovoked, and left her for dead on the side of the interstate.
The brutal attack was reportedly captured on the 9-1-1 call.
Gipson fled the scene.
He made his way to Hueytown, AL (approximately 6 miles from where the attack occurred), where officials received a call about a man in the middle of Allison Bonnett Memorial Drive about an hour after Summers’ body was found.
Police Chief Mike Yarbrough with the Hueytown Police Department (HPD) said the department was aware of the homicide and took Gipson into custody to await questioning in connection with Summers’ murder.
He was subsequently charged murder and two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.
Further, he is currently being held in the Jefferson County Jail on a now-revoked $1.5 million bond after he flooded the toilet in his jail cell.
While Thomas and her family could soon see justice brought in the case, she is certainly not alone in her concern about the current safety conditions for truckers.
TNN remains at the forefront of reporting on the disturbing rise in violence against truckers as violent crime continues to spike in many major U.S. cities.
A new report in the Wall Street Journal indicates homicides are on the rise in 36 of 50 biggest U.S. cities amid ongoing lockdowns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truckers have also been specifically targeted by rioters and looters as social unrest continues around the nation.
The data is clear and indicates many truckers operating in and through these cities are doing so under increasingly dangerous circumstances.
Add to this new reality the complex patchwork of state gun laws, and the fact most major trucking companies disallow drivers to carry a firearm for protection, and truckers are faced with difficult and sometimes deadly choices.
TNN has received thousands of comments in recent months over this issue with many saying they are planning to exit the industry because of the heightened safety risks.
We will continue to watch this issue closely.
Photo courtesy the Summers family