Car shop

Texas auto shop owner apologizes for viral ‘rolling coal’ video

A Texas car customization business owner is under fire after posting a “rolling coal” video towards a cyclist near Fort Worth.

Tim Brown, a member of a private McKinney Facebook group (uncensored), posted a screen recording of the video showing a red van passing a cyclist as the man driving records, pointing the camera at the passenger side mirror and saying, “Oh my god, he’s a cyclist. The driver then sped up and zoomed in the rearview mirror to show the truck pumping clouds of black smoke into the cyclist’s path.

Cyclists have referred to this behavior as “rolling coal”, a practice that has become increasingly popular among diesel truck drivers who disable their vehicles’ emissions controls to intentionally release thick exhaust smoke onto drivers. , cyclists and unsuspecting pedestrians.

Kevin Soucie, the owner of Turn 5 Fabrication in the Fort Worth area, confirmed to the Chronicle that he was the driver and posted the video.

He said he rides BMX bikes, and it’s happened to him before, but he “just laughs about it”.

“I don’t take a lot of things like that to heart,” he said Monday. “I always try to find humor in anything so when I posted this video me and my buddies were out racing at the weekend and we were all having a great time and we thought to each other it would be something we could laugh at.”

But some didn’t find it funny. Car enthusiast and off-road cyclist Magan Tyler has called on other members of the community to boycott his business, according to the Star-Telegram.

Slammed on Google reviews

Some people have left negative reviews on Google in an attempt to discourage others from patronizing the business.

“Owner showed his true colors on (Facebook) when he ‘Coal Rolled’ a random cyclist, would not recommend based on that,” one review said.

“Owner posts videos of himself endangering a cyclist on the road,” another reviewer said. “He’s not someone I would recommend working with.”

Soucie said that in addition to commenters trying to ruin his business, he has received hundreds of calls over the past four days from people all over the United States – California, New York, Washington – and even received threats. of death.

“It seems so drastic,” he said on Monday, adding that he can deal with the consequences but feels for his employees.

“What I did to the cyclist was wrong, but I worry about my employees supporting their families. It’s not fair for them to feel the backlash of something I did in my personal life. ”

Although Soucie admits he found it amusing at first, he said he realized he was wrong and learned some of the dangers of his behavior.

“I’ve spoken to dozens of people – cyclists, who have lung issues and seen the downside of the joke and how harmful it can be.”

Is “rolling coal” illegal?

Texas law classifies faulty exhaust as a Class C mischief punishable by a fine of up to $350, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, but it’s mostly enforced at the local level.

A person commits an offense if he or she drives, or as the owner knowingly allows another person to drive, a vehicle that emits visible smoke for 10 seconds or more, or visible smoke that remains suspended in the air for 10 seconds or more before dissipating completely, per transport code 547.605.

Handling diesel engines violates federal clean air law. But the drivers found loopholes in federal law by installing software designed to cheat required emissions testing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Coal rolling is proven to significantly harm the environment by releasing nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant known to cause heart and lung disease and premature death, as well as industrial soot linked to respiratory disease and increased rates. higher mortality rates for Covid-19 patients, according to a 2020 federal EPA report.

Make amends

Soucie said he wanted to make amends and move on.

“We are going in a more positive direction with all of this. I have reached out to the local town (Van Alstyne). They are building a cycle path and I have reached out to build bike racks and donate them for the track and for runners to use.”

He said he plans to extend free repair services to riders with cracked aluminum or steel frames or handlebars.

He did not identify the cyclist, but recently posted a public apology on Facebook and said he would like to take him to lunch and a beer.

It is not known whether the cyclist suffered any health consequences from the smoke.