Credibility Factor: Zero

Devvy Kidd
October 10, 2001

Please read the information below which was forwarded to me with a "News you might want to spread caption."

Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 12:47:16 EDT

by Dot Bibee ( October 10, 2001

PLEASE FORWARD this message to your LOCAL media or Trucker networks - and hopefully there may be someone out there who will be looking for this missing truck and truck driver. This was forwarded by a NEW RCN Reader- Thanks Gator. I am sending this to the Trucker's Ol Blue Network. TV Networks should be reporting this instead of the "mundane reports" about the bombings which don't make sense, such as, we've run out of targets and in the next ALERTS that interrupts all TV broadcastings, "the U.S. is now bombing around the clock - 24 hours a day", and other such non-sensical reports.

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE also to your local truck stops. Make a FLYER with just the information below....and pass them out.

ALERT---Missing Trucker and Truck in Florida -
Tractor - 1999 Kenworth, Florida Tag A7629C ID 907
Company - LCT w/Blue and Yellow Stripes
Trailer - 1998 Great Dane, Ohio Tag C9283M ID N3858
Missing Man: William Casey Ellis, Age 22
CALL: Marion County Sheriff's Office 352-732-9111

Click here: Search continues for missing trucker

Search continues for missing trucker

JOE CALLAHAN, Senior Staff Writer

OCALA Detectives continue to search for an Ocala man who disappeared along with the 18-wheeler truck he was driving. He was last seen more than two weeks ago after leaving his father's West Virginia home. He hasn't been heard from since. Authorities said Monday that William Casey Ellis, 22, was driving the vehicle owned by Lester Coggins Trucking when he was last seen. Since his disappearance, authorities said the Global Positioning System, a satellite tracking device, has been disconnected.

Originally the case was handed over to the Marion County Sheriff's Office newly-formed Terrorism Intelligence Unit because the 18-wheeler has markings that allow the truck to be used to haul hazardous materials. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released information that numerous men had been arrested for possessing false hazardous chemical transport licenses. All Lester Coggins Trucking drivers have valid hazardous chemicals transport licenses.

The men arrested with the false licenses are being investigated as potential witnesses involved in terrorist activities surrounding Sept. 11's attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Sgt. Bill Sowder said. Since they launched their investigation, the task force has referred the missing person's case. ''Our major crimes unit will now handle the case, though we will also keep a close look at it as well,'' said Sgt. Sowder, a member of the newly-formed anti-terrorism unit. ''We are not sure what may have happened to him after visiting his father in West Virginia.''

Authorities said Ellis tried to deliver a small load of concentrated orange juice on Sept. 13, but the recipient of the load refused to take it because it had apparently been damaged. Ellis then stopped by his father's home, spent the night and the following day left to find a place to dispose of the load. "'He also told his boss that he had a family funeral to attend,'' Sowder said, adding the intelligence unit later learned through family members that there were no known funerals in the family.

Sowder said he later learned the Lester Coggins Trucking credit card was used on Sept. 16 in West Virginia, but clerks at the truck stop could not positively identify the man as being Ellis. The truck company, which is based in Lake County, later filed a stolen vehicle report with authorities.

Ellis was reported missing by his mother, Robin Wilson of the Ocala National Forest, on Thursday. Wilson told authorities at the Marion sheriff's Forest District Office she hadn't heard from her son in nearly two weeks and company officials had also lost contact with him.

''We talked to him the day after the bombings,'' said Wilson, adding he said he had to get rid of the damaged orange juice, get his truck cleaned and then head out on a new run on Monday. ''It's not like him not to call and check on his daughter.''

Wilson said she and her mother help care for the 2-year-old girl. Wilson said it was out of character for her son not to call home. When Ellis couldn't be located by GPS satellite and officials exhausted all other attempts to find him, they canceled all company credit cards and supplies he needed to conduct business. Wilson said the last satellite track had him positioned four miles from Tornado, W.Va. ''We are considering him missing and endangered,'' Sowder said.

Sowder added that the tractor, a white 1999 Kenworth with Florida tag A7629C, and its trailer, a 1998 Great Dane with Ohio tag C0283M, have been listed in the national stolen vehicle computer. The tractor and trailer both have blue and yellow stripes and utilize the company's initials ''LCT'' on the sides. The tractor also has the identification number 907 on the side and the trailer has an identification of N3858, Sowder said. Sowder urges anyone with information about the truck or Ellis' whereabouts to contact the Marion County Sheriff's Office at 732-9111.

Joe Callahan can be reached at or paged at 898-9649.


%Dot Bibee ( Knoxville TN 865-577-7011

* * *

Well, we'll never restore the constitution if we have lazy people out there who create hysteria by forwarding material they either don't verify or follow-up on. Knowing from past history, I don't trust anything Ms. Bibee sends out, so I picked up the phone and called Mr. Joe Callahan. This is what he told me:

The young man who was assigned the truck went and found a new job. He parked the truck and said he attempted to call his former company, Lester Coggins, to let them know where the truck was parked. Apparently there was some sort of mis-cue along the line and the company didn't get the message and in this atmosphere of fostering fear and hysteria by the boob tube, everyone went into over-drive. Mr. Callahan was very detailed in his account of how the mystery was resolved and what a stupid mess it turned into, but everyone was relieved it was just a bad goof.

Yes, this could have been a very, very serious situation had it not been resolved, but it was. The kid has a new job, the trucking company got back their truck and its over. There's no charges or anything because the affected parties determined that it was just a dumb mistake. I forgot to ask him about the GPS being disconnected as he previously reported, but this driver could have done it if he used the truck for an interview with another company or something. I don't know, but apparently it wasn't serious enough for him to be charged with anything.

However, and I wrote about this before in a piece titled Conspiracy Addicts and The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, if bad information continues to get sent out into the public domain and then turns out to be a lie or a non-issue, everyone's credibility in this "take back America" movement suffers.

How much effort is it to pick up the phone and attempt to very information? Oh, well, that takes time- about five minutes in this case when I called the above newspaper and spoke with the reporter who covered the story. Now, instead what you'll have is this non-story sent out all over the Internet with the usual screeching and wasting everyone's time looking for a big rig that is no longer missing, making up flyers and passing them out at all the truck stops.

This stupidity could also create a potentially dangerous situation. How many flyers with this false information go out across the country? A hundred? A thousand? Say this truck is now on the road with a new driver from that company. Here's Joe Smith, driving along with his orange juice in a truck that has an alert out for the make, model and license plate number. Then some cowboy spots it and says, "Hey! Everyone on the road--there's that stolen truck, blah, blah, blah" and does something like try to run it off the road or worse, all to save America from a possible terrorist attack? Is Ms. Bibee going to hop in her car and drive to all the truck stops and let everyone know she sent out a false alert? See what I mean?

You also get people all in a twist that perhaps there's a rolling Anthrax bomb on the roads of America. All because Ms. Bibee was too lazy to pick up the phone and find out the status of this search. There was no date on the piece and that's one of the things that bothered me the most: How old was the story? Ms. Bibee is also flat wrong about the media: This is exactly the kind of story they love to plaster all over the boob tube in this current environment. They didn't because there was no longer any story.

People often inquire why I don't post their forwards about this, that and the other. The answer is simple: I don't have the time to personally run down every single story that comes into my e-mail boxes. There are excellent daily "newsies" like Drudge and that folks can check for everyday news stories and commentaries.

I just plug along doing the best I can, verifying information as best I can before it goes up on my site. Too bad the rest of these people out there who think they're some kind of hot-shot journalists or reporters, don't bother to do even the basic checks before they send out alerts on stories that are already DOA and "old news." The next time they cry wolf, which may be real, no one is going to believe them.

Hysteria, Inc.