ID Investigates Killer Truckersby Jana Ritter - Published: 10/03/2013
While the great majority of truck drivers are “the good guys” we depend on to keep the entire country running, at least 25 former long haul truckers are convicted serial killers who used America’s interstates as their hunting and dumping grounds. This week Investigation Discovery Channel is airing the documentary special, “ID INVESTIGATES: KILLER TRUCKERS”, after its successful premiere in August.
While the program exposes the dangerous underworld of a transient and solitary industry, it repeatedly reminds viewers that the vast majority of truck drivers are honest, hard-working Americans who go through painstaking measures to conduct themselves under a code of ethics and safety that remains incredibly important to commerce, today, in American society. Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and Destination America said of the program, “We hope that this special serves as a reminder that while not every trucker is on the highway to hell, our open roads are, indeed, open to both good and evil.”
According to the American Trucking Association, there are roughly 3.5 million truckers on the road today, but the documentary examines why as many as 25 former long haul truckers are currently serving sentences for multiple killings. Eric Hickey, dean of the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant International University, describes truck-driving serial killers as “opportunistic.” Part of the problem may be truck stops themselves, which Hickey describes as “absolutely fascinating places for criminal activity.”
ID explores the other possible contributing forces and environments that breed criminality along our nation's highways by focusing on the most tragic stories, such as the sadistic serial killer who turned the sleeper birth of his truck into a torture chamber and kept his victims chained for weeks at time before dumping their bodies roadside.
For long-haul truckers, the comfort zone is the cab of their truck and according to the FBI victims of highway serial murderers are typically women who live high-risk, transient lifestyles, and are often involved in drug and alcohol abuse and prostitution. Most often, they are prostitutes who make themselves easy prey at truck stops and also easy to dump along a desolate area of a highway in different jurisdictions from where they were last seen.
But this is where “the good guys” come in. Truck drivers are not only the eyes and ears of our highways, they make-up the very few witnesses to anything going on at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. University of Houston criminology professor Steve Egger, a former homicide detective, says most pit-stopping travelers tend not to pay much attention to their surroundings. “You might have to go to the bathroom, maybe grab a candy bar and then you are gone. You won’t even remember what the gas station looked like, let alone any of the people there,” he said.
Already, Truckers Against Trafficking has rallied truck drivers to help save the lives of teenage girls and law enforcement needs this awareness extended to any potential victim who comes in harm's way.