We have all seen it before, a carrier in the trucking industry makes all kinds of claims to stand behind their drivers and as most experienced drivers know, very few of those carriers honor those claims. Worse than those carriers are a few that excel in treating their drivers like common garbage or disposable items.
Such is the case with CRST and the treatment of their driver James “Kip” McCarty in recent weeks. As I write this Kip is still fighting for his life in a Texas hospital. CRST is a carrier under the corporate umbrella of CRST International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is the same CRST that was already exposed by Dan Rather about two years ago for having shady business practices and even illegal training practices but they continue to forge ahead into new territory. In this case it seems that they want to specialize in the disgusting behavior of treating a driver like nothing more than a disposable casing once the life has been sucked out of it. Their latest episode began back on August 1st, 2013 so I’ll take you through it from that day forward.
On August 1st at approximately 11:26 AM, Kip McCarty delivered a load of freight for CRST to Knight Transportation in Hutchens, TX. At 6:20 PM that same day a 911 dispatcher received a call about a man lying under a bridge by the Love’s truck stop in Dallas, TX. Emergency personnel arrived on scene to find an unidentified, non responsive man with a 107 degree body temperature……….that man was Kip McCarty. After being transported to Baylor it was found that he was in full kidney failure.
From August 4th to August 6th Kip’s mother, Peggy Mercer, had made numerous calls to CRST about the whereabouts of her son as she had normally had regular contact with him and she was concerned after not hearing from him. During this time Peggy was treated with disrespect and condescension and was given the following statements “he’s a big boy, he can take care of himself”…..”oh he’s in a motel”…..”we’ll send him a message for you”……”look, we are more concerned about our truck”. Still trying to remain patient Peggy waited until August 10th when she again called CRST and again she received the same type of treatment and was given another excuse, this time it was “truckers walk away from trucks all the time”. Unable to get any type of cooperation or information from CRST Peggy was stuck not knowing where her son was or knowing if he was OK, on August 12th she called CRST and finally they told her that they had no idea where he was and that it might be time to file a missing persons report. Peggy filed that report and on August 13th was contacted by law enforcement with news that they think they had located her son Kip. He was admitted at Baylor as a John Doe nearly two weeks prior!!!.
After Kip was identified was the only time that CRST contacted authorities and it was to have them locate their truck, since that time they have cut off communication with Peggy or anyone else in Kip’s family. His family has no way to retrieve his personal effects from the truck because CRST went and picked it up the morning that they were supposed to retrieve those items. CRST also will not divulge any information regarding any health insurance Kip may have or his payroll info, even-though his mother has power of attorney over Kip’s affairs. They were however quick to list Kip as abandoning the truck and trailer while he lay’s in a hospital hooked up to machines and fighting for his life.
Here we are 26 days after Kip’s incident, his mother Peggy and longtime partner Ben continue to search for answers as to what happened and continue to wait for answers from CRST as well. I know that many of us want answers as well. The investigation is ongoing and it must be handled by law enforcement but the demand for answers from CRST is something that we as professional truck drivers can press forward.
Why did they wait 13 days to contact authorities?
Why have they not offered even the most remote type of concern for Kip McCarty?
And my own personal question that I pose to CRST that I know they will hide from, Why in the hell do you think that you can treat my fellow professional drivers in the manner that you do, who do you think you are fooling with your false claims, lies and disgusting subhuman behavior?
Do you want to know as well? How about you give them a call and let them know how you feel about their driver and family treatment and help spread the word to help stop this from happening to another driver or his/her family.
CRST Cedar Rapids, IA (319) 396-4400
If you want to help Kip McCarty and his family or if you just want to say a few encouraging words you can find a donation page set up for him at http://www.gofundme.com/4092dk
You can find his Facebook support page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/512652238828436/
We have to start standing together as a brotherhood and sisterhood to protect our own and Kip is one of our own, he is a driver just like you and I and he is a human being and so are his loved ones and they should all be treated as such instead of being treated as insignificant. Before you move on to share the next popular joke of the day stop and take a minute to share his story, this could very easily be you if we continue to let carriers get away with this type of behavior.