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Midwestern News

1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Chicago, IL police say a man who allegedly tried to steal a woman’s car got a big surprise when she handed over the keys, then shut him inside her garage. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that 21-year-old Andre Bacon is charged with attempted vehicular hijacking and theft and was ordered held Sunday, February 16, 2014, in lieu of US$75,000 bail. Police say Bacon demanded that she give him the keys to her 2012 Acura MDX, which was parked in her garage. She did, but then closed the door behind her and called police.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 21:47

1Collision Network Adds 2 Stores in WI and MI

The 1Collision Network, a Midwest chain of independently-owned collision repair businesses, has announced the addition of two Wilson Auto Collision centers to its family. With these additions, 1Collision now has 19 facilities throughout Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The Wilson Auto Collision centers are owned by Kevin Wilson, who has been in business for 12 years. “I was impressed with the 1Collision value proposition, with many programs designed to enhance our success and planned business growth,” said Wilson. “I also see great value in affiliating and networking with other high-performing, successful business owners.” 1Collision Network president, Jim Keller, commented, “We are proud to welcome Kevin and his organization as our newest 1Collision partner. I first met Kevin at the MSO Symposium at NACE and knew from our first conversation that he was a high-quality business owner, serious about his business, in touch with industry trends, and thriving in the marketplace because of his successful qualities. Visiting his businesses verified the commitment Kevin and his staff have to service excellence.”

Todd Liston says that he’s fixing double the usual number of cars this year at Auto Body Specialists in Rockford, IL. “Every aspect of vehicle accidents has gone up from sliding off the road, which is definitely there. The snow banks are so high that people are not even able to see around the intersection sometimes and they pull out and get hit that way,” said Liston. Aside from car accidents, local mechanics say they’re running into another problem: finding enough car parts. State Farm Insurance reports a 20 percent jump in their car insurance claims from December 2012 to the same time last year. That includes car accidents and roadside assistance from drivers sliding off the road. “We’re seeing a lot more multiple-vehicle accidents, a lot more accidents in the ditch, and a lot more rollovers.” Gwen Brooks says she’s filing about three claims per day, compared to three claims per week last winter. Liston says that appointments at his shop are being pushed back about a month because of so many weather-related accidents. And manufacturers are running low on parts because of so many weather-related accidents.

Bill Wright, an auto dealer and philanthropist in Kalamazoo, MI, died suddenly in Fort Myers, FL, on Dec. 28. He was 55. A family member, quoted by local news, said the cause of death was believed to be heart failure.

Wright sold his stake in the Seelye-Wright Automotive Group in October, of which he had been a partner since 1989. The group owns and operates six dealerships in western Michigan and has since shortened its name to the Seelye Automotive Group. He was known in western Michigan for his slogan “Yes We Can,” which he would use to end every commercial and emblazoned billboards in the area.

He also founded the Wright for Kids foundation, which raises money to help abused and neglected children in the Kalamazoo area.

His business partner, Mike Seelye , says in a statement, “Obviously I have a long history with him. We have worked together and been partners for 30-plus years. So it’s shocking to me and a sad situation. It’s hard to believe that a guy who was as big as life as him is dead.”

On Tuesday, December 10, a jury verdict was returned for $200,000 against State Farm Insurance Company and in favor of a man who had been employed by State Farm for 25 years (Dennis L. Brady v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Hamilton County Circuit Court).

The plaintiff’s attorney, Mike Stephenson, said his client, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball (1964), was satisfied with the outcome.

“Unfortunately, although the case took only two days to try, it was at significant expense to the plaintiff, who had been willing to settle for a reasonable amount,” Stephenson said.

According to the complaint, Stephenson’s client was in a car accident in 2007 and thereafter made an underinsured motorist claim under his policy; he requested that State Farm, his insurer as well as his employer, allow him to arbitrate the matter and not be required to take the matter to a jury.

“This request was denied,” Stephenson said, “and so we filed a civil case and let a jury decide the damages.”

Structural work on a $45 million transportation-training center will begin soon at Chicago’s Olive Harvey College. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman to break ground on the $45 million project. The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center will be at Olive-Harvey College and will be the first of its kind in Illinois. It is designed to prepare students for more than 100,000 jobs expected in the Chicago area over the next decade. The construction project itself will create 150 jobs. The center will have space for training students in automotive technology and training, collision repair, diesel engine technology and aviation mechanics. It will also have an area for supply chain management, including a warehouse and simulation labs; and taxi, truck driver and forklift training. Gov. Pat Quinn announced that $4.6 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program for structural work. The building should be completed by fall 2015. The center is being funded by $31 million in state funds, $13 million from the City Colleges of Chicago and $1 million from the Illinois Community College.