March 11th, 2009 09:40 AM
Bad: Trucker killed at rest stop.
FULTONHAM — The three men charged with killing a Schoharie County trucker Thursday in South Carolina got a total of $7 in cash for their efforts, investigators said Monday.
As the three were working their way through the South Carolina criminal justice system, funeral preparations were being made 700 miles north for Jason H. Rivenburg, a 35-year-old Fultonham resident with a toddler son and pregnant wife.
Rivenburg was resting in a tractor-trailer near a South Carolina highway when he was shot during the robbery around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. His body wasn’t found until Saturday, the day family members were expecting him to return home.
“We keep looking out the window and hoping to see him at any time,” said Butch Savage, Rivenburg’s father-in-law. “It’s rough, believe me, it’s real rough. We’re still trying to, I guess, let it sink in.”
Calhoun (S.C.) County Sheriff Thomas Summers said police were able to tie the suspects to shell casings found at the scene.
Willie Pelzer, 22, was charged with murder. Summers said Pelzer, whose criminal record includes a grand larceny conviction, is accused of firing a .45-caliber handgun at close range through a window in the truck’s cab, hitting Rivenburg at least two times in the head.
Jimmie Haygood and Willie Reed, both 21, were charged as accessories after the fact of murder, Summers said.
Summers said Haygood and Reed provided confessions, though Pelzer did not.
He said police recovered shell casings at the scene and caught up with the suspects by searching a list of owners of recently purchased .45-caliber handguns.
Summers said he phoned Rivenburg’s relatives early Sunday, as soon as police made arrests. “I know we’re a long ways away, and I wanted to assure them somebody down here cared,” he said.
Investigators believe the $7 Rivenburg had on him was all the cash the robbery yielded, Summers said.
“It’s a cowardly act, incredibly cowardly and senseless,” he said.
Savage said Rivenburg spent most of his free time with his son Joshua, who turns 2 next month.
“His little boy was his life,” he said.
Rivenburg and his family had just moved into a new home a month ago, Savage said. He said Rivenburg was a hard worker who ran a vehicle cleaning and detailing business in Schoharie County — a skill he developed through his penchant for cleanliness.
“He was a clean freak. Every day it was sunny he was outside cleaning his pickup,” Savage said.
“The night he got killed, he was talking to his friend [on his cellphone] and he was cleaning the dash of the big truck,” Savage said.
Savage said his daughter Hope, who is pregnant with twins, was trying to cope with the loss of her husband and was not taking phone calls Monday.
Rivenburg was working part-time for Vanderveen Trucking of Delanson, hauling organic milk, company representatives said Saturday.
Rivenburg worked as a heavy equipment operator during the construction season, his father-in-law said, but was laid off for the winter.
According to Summers, Rivenburg was parked at a closed-down gas station near an exit off a major highway in St. Matthews, S.C.
The station has been closed for about a year, he said, and it is located in a rural area that’s not prone to crime.
“It’s not unusual for truckers to back into this station and rest,” Summers said.
Savage said Rivenburg had left home Wednesday, made a drop in Virginia and arrived in South Carolina early. He was only 12 miles from his destination but unable to head directly there because it was too early for the delivery.
Family members are circulating a petition to gather support for government action to ensure the safety of truckers who are required by federal law to stop their trucks and rest after a certain amount of driving time.
“The DOT tells truck drivers they can only drive for 12 or 14 hours, then they’ve got to park. We want to turn around and see legislation that they will provide safe haven for truckers to stop at,” Savage said. “[Rivenburg] is from here. He really doesn’t know that area,” Savage said.
Rivenburg’s death follows that of another Capital Region truck driver, John L. Belfance of Fonda, who was shot at a rest stop in Georgia in August 2007. Two people were charged in that killing.
According to his obituary, Rivenburg was a 1991 graduate of the Schoharie Central School. He worked for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 106 in Albany.
Visitation was scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Palmer & Shaylor Funeral Home, 134 River St., Middleburgh, where a funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday.
A memorial fund for the family of Jason Rivenburg was established at the TrustCo Bank at 1900 Altamont Ave., Rotterdam, N.Y., 12303. TrustCo representative Michelle DiMauro said people can make contributions to the fund at any TrustCo branch.
March 11th, 2009 09:46 AM
Unreal! This state is becoming more violent by the day!
Lives ruined for $7.
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March 11th, 2009 10:45 AM
That's terrible. I can't understand the mindset of someone who would come up to a truck, climb up and shoot through the window. That was senseless, I hope he gets the death sentance.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
March 11th, 2009 07:08 PM
It would be quicker, cheaper, and more effective to allow truckers to be armed, rather than try to create "safe" zones.
Originally Posted by Swamp Dog
No, I don't expect it to happen. I just think it's folly for people to call for the creation of special "safe" zones where security will be provided (?), or zones that just have the "safe" designation.
Pure folly. What is needed is to give truckers the right to arm themselves.
March 11th, 2009 07:16 PM
So sad. Are truckers not allowed to carry right now? I guess its a given for company drivers (although that's pretty ridiculous too, especially since they don't work with other employees), but what about independent contractors?
March 11th, 2009 07:24 PM
I'm guessing they are (if their employers allow it) but are restricted as we are to states that allow reciprocity.
Originally Posted by paul34
An over-the-road trucker even with a handful of CCW licenses could easily find himself or herself in a state that doesn't honor his or her CCW. I suppose it could be done, that is, unloading and locking the gun up when nearing an anti state line, but I don't know if all states will allow a gun in a truck.
Any of our members who drive trucks could give you a better answer than I can. I just know there are states that don't allow CCW's. I can usually avoid those states; long-haul, multi-state truckers may have difficulty avoiding those states, especially if they are carrying without their employer's knowledge.
March 11th, 2009 07:49 PM
March 11th, 2009 09:56 PM
Rest areas at night especially are dangerous. It was a situation in a rest area in eastern ohio several years ago that motivated me to get a CCDW permit. I was not attacked but the situation was rather tense and uncertain. When on the road especially both my wife and I are very happy carrying.
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March 11th, 2009 10:01 PM
that just sucks
He was an upstanding individual, out there working to support his family by driving after he was laid off. Then some punks looking for a quick buck take him away from his kids and wife. I sincerely hope that state has a death penalty and those scumbags sizzle on thier way out.
March 11th, 2009 10:20 PM
I drove OTR for 4 years hauling injection molds for GM & i tell ya there were alot of times when i wished i had my pistol. Iam just glad i dont do it anymore, after my little guy was born daddy quit driving so i could be home. Its a pain in the butt job although you can make alot of cash (which is just not worth it if you have a family, you need to be home) but it does get old pretty fast.
As far as my understanding on the whole thing its a company's choice if you carry in there truck (unless your an owner/op) but you still have to abide by the individual states law's, which if you drive cross country its impossible to carry legally. I wish there was a better option for truckers because they need it (well some of them anyway) as you can see from this incident.
I really feel for his family, its a senseless act
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March 11th, 2009 10:30 PM
What the heck? Didn't somebody do a background check on this fool (if he is the one who bought it), or (more likely) was he "holding it" for somebody who didn't want to take the rap for it.
Originally Posted by Swamp Dog
March 11th, 2009 10:58 PM
If I'm reading the article right, he was killed in his sleep. Not much being armed would have done him. Although I do agree with you on principle.
Originally Posted by grady
March 12th, 2009 05:12 AM
Prayers to his family......a 2yo and twins on the way?!? Yeah, those dirtbags need to cook REAL slow!
When traveling I try to keep a detailed printout of the states laws concerning rest areas, truck stops, etc. I'm no trucker but I've been on the road many times and being unarmed from time to time made things pretty scary. I never travel without my 'buddy' riding 'shotgun' if I can help it.
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March 12th, 2009 11:27 PM
God this is so sad.
As a former trucker, I can tell you it is a very dangerous and thankless job.
As a South Carolinian, it's another of a number of senseless killings in our state. We've had a number of instances where people were shot, knifed or beaten just because; it seems like robery has been an afterthought.
My prayers go out to the family. My father was killed when I was 9 and my sister was 5. They are in for a sad and difficult time. May God be with them.
March 13th, 2009 02:05 AM
Originally Posted by retsupt99
You Are Absolutely Correct... The worst IS yet to come.
Probably one of the main reason I never considered getting into trucking was the thought of sleeping alone in my truck parked at the side of the road.
Doesn't matter if you're armed with a select fire MP-5 with flash bangs and tactical lights... When you're asleep, you're vulnerable to ambush! I just couldn't shake that thought.
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
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