Test Day 2: Wilson Stopped Short

Joey Wilson Jr. woke up this morning expecting it to be one of the best days of his life. It didn’t turn out that way, however, in a case of he-said versus he-said with the first man having the authority over the second.

Wilson, one of the seven CDL or Bust students and one of four to take his CDL exam today in Louisville, Kentucky, hadn’t even finished going through his pre-trip brake inspection when examiner Evan Harrod, a retired state trooper, told him that he had failed.

“There’s three parts of the brake inspection: the four PSI, the 60 PSI and then the tractor protection valve, which you push in to release the brakes and the pressure gets down to between 20 and 40 PSI,” explained Bob Cross, one of Wilson’s instructors at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “Joey was pumping down and apparently he didn’t say 20 and 40. He just did it.”

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Wilson swears that Harrod asked if he had said 20 to 45, and said, “I said no, 20 to 40. I thought he was trying to catch me up like I’d heard about him doing. He said I didn’t say it all, [that] I just said [the valves] pop out. … I think I said the 20 to 40 and then the tractor protection valve would pop. Me thinking I had messed it up, I re[-did it] and I think [Harrod] was listening from right then, not hearing what I said to begin with.”

Harrod doesn’t speak to the media. Wilson was understandably angry, as were his classmates, but he didn’t lose his cool as he has been known to do.

“It shocked me,” said Wilson, whom Cross expected to pass with ease. “I was mad, but I [didn’t] want to mess it up for nobody else. And I started thinking, it ain’t that bad and I gotta come back and retest.”

Maybe there was some payback for the alleged wrong inflicted on the 27-year-old former dump truck driver this morning. When Wilson returned to TAT to schedule his retest, there had been a cancellation, so unlike yesterday’s students who failed and have to wait two weeks to try again, he’ll get his shot Monday.

— By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter; photo by John Sommers II for TT.