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Southwestern News

1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

Barrett Collision Center owner Rocky Champion said his shop is booking appointments one and a half to two weeks out right now. Champion said the number of people bringing their cars in almost doubled after the last ice storm.

“When there are ice storms, it brings an increase in business,” said Champion. “That’s always a good thing for us, unfortunate for a lot of people.”

Last time freezing rain covered the streets in Abilene, TX, Champion said business started booming at his auto body shop.

“Our phone was busy, was constantly ringing. People were constantly walking in. Not many lulls those few days,” said Champion.

People who brought their cars in had been involved in all different types of accidents.

“This time, since there was so much ice and so many people on the road, with everything from little fender benders to rollovers,” Champion said.

On December 3, 2013, members of the school, industry, and press gathered at the Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Harlingen to celebrate their Collision Repair Education Foundation Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant, sponsored by Tony Aquila, president and CEO of Solera, the parent company for AudaExplore. Through the grant, the TSTC Harlingen Autobody Collision Technology program received $50,000 in tools, equipment, and supplies to improve the collision repair facility and the technical education of current and future collision students.

A mechanical failure inside a paint booth ventilation system was the cause of a fire in an El Paso, TX, auto body shop, officials said. The fired started at about 9:15 p.m. at Buddies Body Shop, 8253 Alameda Avenue, El Paso Fire Department officials said. An employee was inside at the time of the fire, but safely evacuated the building and called 911, officials said. No injuries were reported. When firefighters arrived, they saw flames and smoke coming from the roof of the shop, officials said. Approximately 10 fire units and 30 firefighters responded to the fire. The fire was contained to the paint booth and exhaust system in the shop within 20 minutes, officials said. A fire investigator determined the cause of the fire was a mechanical failure inside the paint booth ventilation system. Damages are estimated at $30,000.

GEICO is suing a Galveston, TX, body shop, alleging fraud and conversion.

GEICO as subrogee of Donna Lowth, filed a lawsuit February 21, 2014, in the Galveston County Court against Tennison Collision Auto Body Shop, doing business as Harborside Collision, citing consumer fraud and conversion.

The complaint alleges that on January 11, 2014, the defendant intentionally defrauded Lowth and GEICO by falsely advising Lowth that all costs associated with the towing, hauling, and/or repair would be covered by GEICO.

Lowth alleges the defendant added additional, unnecessary, and fraudulent charges to Lowth’s bill, according to the complaint.

GEICO is seeking immediate release of the vehicle, punitive damages, treble damages, fees, and costs.

The plaintiff is being represented in the case by attorneys David S. Knight and John D. Murphy of David Knight & Associates.

Elvis D. Presley of Star City, AR, filed paperwork at the state Capitol to run as a Libertarian for commissioner of state lands. Presley was selected as the party’s nominee during its convention last weekend in Little Rock, AR.

Presley, who works at an auto body shop and performs Elvis-themed shows in his free time, ran as a write-in candidate for Arkansas governor in 2010. Born Joey Dane Ashmore, he legally changed his name to Elvis D. Presley in 2006.

Republican John Thurston is running for re-election as land commissioner. So far, no Democrats have filed to run for the post. Presley said he didn’t expect his famous name to help him in the race.

Some body shops in central Arkansas have lines of cars outside their garages.

At West Auto Body, owner Larry West said his phone has been ringing off the hook. The damages range from all types of dents on bumpers and doors and cracked windshields. West said he took off this past weekend because he knew what to expect today. “I love the business, but I’d rather folks to be safe than tearing their cars up than making money,” said West. He’s looking at the weather forecast and is urging everyone to stay home. If you are hit, he said be sure to exchange insurance information to make sure it’s correct before anyone drives off.