Imagine this: Spending $81,000 in one year on repairs for two semi-trucks and replacing a motor in another semi-truck.

That’s what happened to a businessman I interviewed last week.

OK, if spending $81,000 in one year on truck repairs isn’t enough to send your head spinning, this may do it: The repairs were not because of wear on the truck or a part going bad because of too many miles. The repairs were necessary after Karo syrup was poured into the fuel tank.

You read that right. Karo syrup in the fuel tank! And let’s be serious. The syrup did not get in the tank by itself.

The businessman, Leroy Baker, owner of Sugarcreek Livestock Auction, told me that when the first truck broke down near Connecticut, he thought it was just a random thing. He thought the truck had too many miles and it just happened.

Then, the second call came in just a couple of weeks later. This time, the truck was on its way to Texas and it broke down along the highway.

The truck was towed to a garage where the mechanics thought something didn’t seem right as they were tearing it apart to see what had went wrong. After some tests, the mechanics found what was causing the motor to lock up: Karo syrup.

Baker gave the orders and the truck was put back on the road.

Then the third call. Again from Texas. Yes, another truck was broke. It, too, was repaired.

Meanwhile, $81,000 was gone from the auction’s coffers and Baker was starting to ponder some thoughts about what could be happening. But still no one to blame for the breakdowns.

And then it happened. Baker got a phone call on a Sunday morning. He said he knew something wasn’t right when the phone rang because of the day and time, but he quickly answered.

It was man’s voice. The man admitted to being part of an animal rights group (I’m not going to use any names.). And then the big confession.

The group had been behind the Karo syrup.

The man asked Baker how it felt to have to pay to repair three semi-trucks and even admitted to how the group had accomplished such a feat. The man reportedly told Baker that the group had been following the semi-trucks after they left the auction barn.

I couldn’t believe my ears as I heard this story. Not because I don’t think people would do such a thing but because of the cost to the auction barn and the tragedies that could have happened as a result.

I covered the Ohio State Highway Patrol for four years at another publication in my career and the one thing I learned was that accidents happen every day at any time. Yes, there are some that can be pinpointed to an exact cause, but many happen because they are accidents. They just happen. But the result of those accidents are what can change a life in a heartbeat.

So why would anyone or any group chance causing an accident? I have no clue why, especially after reading accident reports and viewing scenes where someone’s loved ones were killed, I can’t imagine it.

I know if it is true that someone or some group was behind those trucks breaking down, they were just thinking of the money they were costing the business. They weren’t thinking of the implications of their actions.

I hope someone or the group learns to think about the results of their actions in the future before they become responsible for the truck drivers’ lives or the lives of other motorists on the road.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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