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Security guard shoots trucker over truck stop parking spot, police say

The trucking industry’s tensions over adequate parking can be seen as a backdrop to an incident Friday in Oklahoma that left a truck driver in the hospital after being shot by a security guard at a truck stop.

According to several local news reports, the incident took place at a TA Truck Center in Oklahoma City, near the intersection of South Council Road and Interstate 40. The shooting occurred in a section of the truck stop with reserved truck parking.

Sgt. Brad Gilmore of the Oklahoma City Police Department, quoted by local news outlets, described the incident as occurring when the security guard for the truck stop was checking the reserved spots. “Apparently the security guard was out there checking that when a disagreement happened,” Gilmore was quoted as saying. “A physical altercation took place. The security guard discharged his firearm.”

The driver, who was not identified in the news stories, was taken to a local hospital. Charges were not filed against the security guard, though Gilmore indicated evidence could be presented to the local district attorney, who could pursue further action.

The report on the shooting from local television station KWTV quoted a truck driver on the scene named Jimmy Combs. His comments seem to sum up the issue with parking that truck drivers face every day. 

“That’s pretty severe force when you’re taking somebody down for parking in somebody’s parking spot,” Combs was quoted as saying. “Most of the time long-haul truck drivers are tired. They run eight, 10, 12 hours and when they want to go to sleep, they go to sleep. You wake them up, I mean if I get woke up, I’m kind of in a bad mood.”

In last year’s annual survey of the biggest issues facing trucking from ATRI, the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, drivers put parking as the No. 3 issue. A year earlier, it was second. In the 2018 survey, management listed parking as the ninth biggest concern. In the most recent survey, it didn’t place in the top 10 in the view of management.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.