This is an account featuring NCI company driver Jonathan Merritt who currently drives truck # 2623B. This is an accounting of an incident he was involuntarily involved in December 2010. The NCI safety department cautions this is a situation that is repeated all to frequently around the United States.
At 1:00 AM Jonathan Merritt stepped out of his truck to enter a Mississippi truck stop to pay for fuel. Always cautious, he parked in a well- lit area and locked his truck. After paying his bill he walked to his truck. Suddenly, he was struck from behind. Two men began beating him until he fell to the ground and lost consciousness. When he awoke, the truck stop manager was standing over him.
Earlier the manager had noticed the two vagrant men in the area. The thieves had taken Merritt’s wallet containing cash, driver’s license and his credit/debit/fuel cards. As the manager ran to help, the men disappeared into a nearby wooded area. Both law enforcement and medical personnel were called.
Having his money and personal items stolen was frustrating. The physical pain from the altercation was excruciating. After being transported to a local hospital, Jonathan was diagnosed with a broken nose, a damaged muscle in his eyelid and a swollen skull. After a stay of 2 days in the medical facility, he was sent to an eye specialist in Atlanta, then released to home care. There he spent the next 3 months recovering from his injuries.
NCI Leasing Assistant Director Kim Obholz arranged to pick up his truck securing it and his belongings at the Irving yard. A safety department representative called him frequently checking on his condition throughout his recovery. Though his healing period was long and painful, Jonathan was delighted when he was released from his doctor’s care.
Merritt cautions everyone to be aware of your surroundings and be alert for potential ambushes. “The financial struggles from having no income during my healing process has been the most difficult. Of course, losing my wallet was hard, but the following weeks without income were even harder. I want to thank Director of Leasing, Rick Ham and Director of Driver Servies, Al Love for working with me. to have adequate income to catch up on my bills at home,” he stated.
Here are seven recommendations from the NCI safety department to minimize chances of being attacked.
1. When walking try to look as tall and as broad as you can. Stick out your chest, push back your shoulders and hold your head high. Don’t shuffle along with your head down. Walk sticking out your elbows. Look like a physical winner rather than a loser.
2. Walk within a group when possible.
3. Take special care when crossing roads, getting out of or into your truck or your motel. It is at those times, while you are concentrating hard, that you are particularly vulnerable to attackers.
4. Wearing obvious, flashy jewelry or watches is like wearing a flashing sign saying, “Attack me now“. Carrying a large purse, briefcase, backpack or anything that might contain valuables makes you a desirable target.
5. Stay alert for possible dangers. You can minimize the likelihood of being surprise by paying attention to your surroundings and avoiding distractions. You become an easier target when do things like listen to music on headphones, talk on the phone, read a map or anything else that takes your attention away from your surroundings.
6. Stick to well-lighted and well populated areas.
7. Look for people loitering. If you see someone who could be a mugger don’t look at him. If you look at someone you’re challenging him. If you have to pass a group of potential muggers try to walk past as though you haven’t seen them. If you are approached by someone who looks like a mugger don’t stop to fight or argue. You’ll almost certainly lose. Do two things: run as fast as you can and make as much noise as you can.