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Amber Alert

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Trucker logs 1 million miles without a wreck WTI Transport employee says his strategy is leaving early

TUSCALOOSA | Most days see 59-year-old truck driver Willie Barnes up and hard at work well before the sun, tying down loads, running a pre-check on his tractor-trailer and planning out the day’s haul.

When he does hit the road, usually during the pre-dawn hours, it is with plenty of time to make the 300- to 500-mile trip safely.

“I don’t wait until the last minute," Barnes said. “I always give myself a couple of hours to play with."

A common-sense philosophy, but one that has helped lead Barnes to an uncommon achievement: more than 1 million miles traveled without a recordable accident.

“I just can’t say enough about the accomplishment," said Steven Rumsey, CEO of WTI Transport and Barnes’ employer. “You just don’t ever hear of it."

Ford Boswell, spokesman for the Alabama Trucking Association, agreed.

“A million miles without an accident is pretty remarkable," Boswell said. “The fact that he did that with one company is also a pretty outstanding feat."

Actually, 1 million miles is a conservative estimate.

“He’s probably got 3 million-plus miles, but all that we can go back and record put him over a million," said Rendy Taylor, president of WTI Transport on 51st Avenue and Stillman Boulevard.

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