Longtime Michigan auto dealer Howard Cooper surprised his employees with $1,000 checks for each year of service after announcing his retirement and selling his Ann Arbor, Mich., dealership this month.
He distributed his “thank you” checks Wednesday after announcing the news on a local radio show. Each of the 89 dealership employees who had been there for more than one month received a check.
The dealership has many long-term employees; the largest check of nearly $47,000 was given to a woman who started work as a bookkeeper when Cooper opened the dealership in 1965, and later became a controller. Cooper said he had thought about the gesture for a long time.
“It’s just the way I’m built, I guess,” he said in an interview. “They made a difference in my life in the efforts they put forth and hopefully I made a difference in theirs.”
Cooper, 83, sold Howard Cooper’s Import Center on Tuesday to Ohio-based Germain Motor Co., which ranks No. 95 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups with new-vehicle retail sales of 7,078 units in 2011.
Vorajuth Yoovidhaya is the 27-year-old grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhaya, who created Red Bull. According to the BBC, Vorayuth has been accused of running over a 47-year-old policeman with a new Ferrari FF and dragging him down the road before the officer succumbed to a broken neck and multiple broken bones.
The crime was alleged to have been initially covered-up by a low-ranking police superintendent. The superintendent reportedly tried to detain an innocent man for the crime before the Bangkok police chief, Comronwit Toopgranjank, discovered what was happening. That man has since been released and the low-level officer has now been transferred to another post.
Toopgranjank, who personally escorted the Red Bull heir from his Bangkok home was quoted as saying, “A policeman is dead. I can’t let this stand. I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign.”
Yoovidhaya is set to be charged with “causing death by driving” and leaving the scene of a crime. He faces up to ten years in jail.
• Domestic Car of the Year – 2013 Ford Focus ST
• SUV of the Year – 2012 Range Rover Evoque
• Sports Car of the Year – 2013 Porsche Boxster
• Debuts of the Year – 2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ
• Luxury Car of the Year – 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe
• Hatchback of the Year – 2012 Volkswagen Golf R
The study by Penn Schoen Berland, commissioned by Ford, surveyed 2,506 U.S. drivers in May and found 99% think they’re good drivers, even though 76% eat or drink behind the wheel, 55% speed, 53% talk on a handheld phone, 37% drive when they’re too tired, and 22% will pick up their phone and search contacts and 3% will receive oral sex while driving.
It’s never pleasant to run across a story of an elderly driver plowing through a group of innocent pedestrians, but here we are. This time 100-year-old Preston Carter lost control of his Cadillac Sedan de Ville, drove up on the sidewalk and injured 11 people across the street from Main Street Elementary School, which had just let out.
Carter, who turns 101 on September 5, said his brakes failed when he hit the group of kids waiting to be picked up by parents, but a witness said that he had put his car into reverse just before running over the curb into the crowd of people. Four kids were trapped under the car, and people nearby were able to lift the car up to get them to safety. In total, nine school kids and two adults were injured and taken to the hospital, and four of the victims were in critical condition. None of the injuries were life-threatening, according to a report by the local CBS affiliate, KCAL.
When asked why he is still driving, Carter simply said, “They gave me the license.”
Police in Dubai have been cracking down on illegal racing by seizing modified vehicles, but they probably didn’t expect to find themselves in pursuit of a full-size SUV supposedly capable of speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The driver had altered his Nissan Patrol , similar to the Infiniti QX56 here in the United States, to allow it to run on “jet fuel”, according to the report, and he put it all to the test when he tried running from the cops.
The report says that the unnamed driver had spent around $68,000 (U.S dollars) to equip his Nissan Patrol with the new fuel tank (we’d assume it’s really aviation fuel for piston engines) along with plenty of engine and body upgrades, but it isn’t clear what exact modifications were made to allow this full-size SUV to run on the high-test fuel or be capable of hitting speeds comparable to a supercar. Regardless, the modifications couldn’t stand up to whatever stopping devices police in Duabi use to end pursuits (referred to as speedbreakers), and after a “Hollywood-style” high-speed police chase that ended in a residential neighborhood, the suspect was apprehended.
The pilot was charged with reckless driving, unlawful car modifications, expired registration and resisting police, and he told police that his vehicle was modified at a local garage and that some of his friends had spent upwards of $80,000 USD for similar upgrades. We’ve all seen the crazy videos coming out of the Middle East of reckless drivers on public roads, and Dubai Police had apparently been cracking down on these drivers especially hard during the month of Ramadan. In that time (July 19 through August 18), police had seized more than 120 vehicles and are said to be investigating an additional 1,700.
We’re all familiar with the designated driver concept. Most everyone with a drivers license has either been one or needed one. But now, the designated texter is a new idea being promoted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to target texting drivers.
A recent study by State Farm Insurance and Harris Interactive says more teens are taking the initiative and volunteering to text for everyone.
A new video from NHTSA called “Stairs” has the tagline, “Not everyone should should text and walk. No one should text and drive.” To illustrate, a texting teen attempts to ascend a set of stairs. She falls face-first, her phone landing at her feet. In the next scene, another teen at the wheel of her SUV gets totally distracted by a text on her phone and looks up just in time to see the pedestrians about to be plowed under her front bumper.
Having a designated texter is a pretty clever idea for those that can’t wait. We’re just concerned about what happens when an inebriated non-driver becomes the designated texter for the designated driver. Wackiness is sure to ensue.