He's a good driver, and he can prove it.
Walter Crean named rookie of the year at national truck driving competition.
Record-Journal - Meriden, CT
August 27, 2000
By Richard Lee,
Record-Journal business editor
WALLINGFORD - Walter Crean III has always had a good reputation as a safe driver, but now he has something to prove it. He won rookie of the year during the American Trucking Association's national driving championships.
A driver for J.R. Christoni Trucking in Wallingford, Crean finished fourth in the flatbed truck event. He competed against 48 drivers, most with truckloads of experience in the world of driving competitions.
In comparison, Crean truly was a rookie. He qualified for the nationals, which were held in the second week of August in New Orleans, after winning at the state level in June in his first attempt.
The Meriden resident said he was unfazed by the competition in the elite of truck driving because he has 15 years of driving experience and an excellent safety record.
Crean, one of 48 rookies competing in the 368-driver field, said he was confident that he would fare well in the national competition. The event include a 40-question written exam on the trucking industry, a pre-trip examination, an interview on transportation issues and an obstacle course.
"I've got over 1 million miles in safe driving. To me, it was natural. I wasn't nervous at all. I do it for a living. The competition was unbelievable. It was the best of the best. You have to be on you're a-game," said Crean, who finished third in his division's driving event.
"I thought I screwed up backing up to a loading dock. Actually, I did well on it, but I lost some points on front stop. The bumper must stop within 18 inches of the line. My bumper lined up directly over the line," said Crean.
To prepare for the obstacle course, Crean and the seven other drivers from Connecticut practiced together before flying to New Orleans.
As in the state competition, the truck pre-trip examination was one of the most demanding requirements. Drivers had to conduct a pre-trip examination to ensure that their vehicle was in safe driving condition.
"You had to crawl underneath the truck," Crean said. "I knew that from pre-tripping at Christoni. They disconnected stuff underneath the truck at the competition."
Crean said he was pleased with his performance and overwhelmed by his rookie of the year designation.