Broke Down and Broken Down

Well 2015 has started out famously.

Just absolutely perfect.

On New Years Eve, my truck broke down at a party in Bellevue where I knew two people.

OK, got it started and made it home and then it broke down again on Friday, January 2nd.

Now, me breaking down on the side of the road is nothing new as I am sure most of you guys have also broken down at some point in your lives and it is a truly helpless feeling.

As I sat in my truck, waiting for the tow,  I started thinking of all the places I’ve been broken down and I just had to laugh.

Here are some of them.



I-65, just north of Pulaski

Broke down coming home from Samford University for a weekend and my car just stopped.  Remember, no cell phones and on the side of the interstate.  Had to walk forever to find a pay phone to call my mom who called a mechanic who had my car towed.  It was also middle of May and about 90 degrees outside.


I-40, between Stewarts Ferry & Donelson Pk

This was in 1986, back when they were expanding it from 2 lanes to 4 lanes and my car just stopped in the fast lane and I had to put on my hazards and wait for a ride or a cop to come along.  The amount of cussing I heard, still to this day, makes me blush in horror, all because I was broke down in the fast lane.  I will never forget an old man, about 175, threatening me because I made him late.  Presumably, to either his own funeral or a Bob Hope show.


I-24 West, just past Murfreesboro

In 2010, while working at channel 2, going to do an interview at Riverdale high school, a giant tool box fell off a truck and I couldn’t swerve to miss and it went right up under the car and ripped everything out.  Now mind you, the interstate was packed and I barely made it to the side of the road.  The best part was when a guy stopped to help me, pulls over and is sprinting to the car.  He is yelling “GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW, GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW!  IT IS GOING TO EXPLODE!”  I hop out of the car and yes, there was smoke everywhere.  I grab the camera out of the back and turn around, the guy is now sprinting back to his car, gets in it and drives off.   He offered no help, just to scare me to death.  I often think about this and laugh out loud.  I wonder if he does this at other places, too.  Just stops, yells at people to watch out and drives off.


Briley Parkway, near Opryland

This might be my favorite one.  I got pulled over for having a headlight out one night and a cop pulls me over.  Again, before cell phones and I was coming back from Rivergate and I see the blue lights and pull over.  He tells me my headlight is out and gives me a ticket.  As I ‘thank him,’ I go to start my car and it is dead.  Completely dead.  I slam my door and get out to open the hood, not knowing what I would find or how to fix it.  The officer rolls up and says, “What’s wrong?”  I reply, “Dunno, won’t start.”  The cop says, “That sucks.  Make sure you get your headlight fixed.”  And drives off.  I walked a few miles to the store to call my mom, who called me a tow truck.  I often think of that cop, pulling up to a house fire and asking, “What’s the problem?” 

My Driveway

All break downs aren’t that bad meaning, there are worse places to be stuck.  Last August, went to Florida with my daughter for a week.  Drove all over the place down there and then, back to Tennessee.  The next morning in my driveway, my truck was dead.  The starter had gone out.  Had it been a day before, we could have been stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Or Alabama. Same thing.  

As always, what seems bad, usually isn’t.  Unless it is.  #huh

So, what is the WORST place you have ever broken down? 





  1. Michele Niec January 5, 2015 6:16 pm  Reply

    Joe, it was December of ’99 and I had lived here one whole week. I was headed to Joelton for a meeting, or at least I thought I was. I had gone the wrong way on I-24 and was south of Murfreesboro when my car broke down. It was POURING rain. A guy stopped to help me and when I told him where I was going I heard my very first “bless your heart.” As in, your moron, you’re going the wrong way. This Philly girl thought he was being nice and sincere, I’ve since learned.

    • Joe Dubin January 5, 2015 7:00 pm  Reply

      LOL, Murfreesboro. What was wrong with your car??

  2. Kevin January 5, 2015 6:34 pm  Reply

    It was 1987 or so (pre-cell phones) and I was with a college buddy and his dad driving somewhere between Dover and Paris just south of Land Between the Lakes. In other words…middle of nowhere (literally). His dad’s truck breaks down. Steam coming out from the hood like a volcano. I know nothing about car mechanics. So as they cut off pieces of hose and taped them together to other pieces of hose, my job (they told me) was to pray that somebody drives by. Because even if they got the hose duct taped back together we had no water to put back into it as coolant. So we’d need a ride to get something.

    It had been a long time since we had seen a car while we were driving and it was starting to get dark. So they fumbled around under the hood with the duct tape and I just kept looking in both directions praying for somebody to come by…somebody that wasn’t an ax murderer unless they happened to have a carton of anti-freeze.

    After about ten minutes somebody driving on the other side of the highway saw me waving at them like I was trying to land a plane and they turned around. The guy actually had a couple of milk jugs full of water in his trunk that he gave us, too. Plus…he wasn’t an ax murderer or at least he didn’t ax-murder us.

    We eased the truck back to the next town, called his mom on a payphone and got some coolant to last us the rest of the way home. To this day I can’t remember why on earth we were travelling through that desolate patch of the state. But, God answers prayer…even in the middle of nowhere.

    • Joe Dubin January 5, 2015 6:59 pm  Reply

      Awesome story Kevin…and yes, God does answer prayers..

  3. Stacey January 5, 2015 7:47 pm  Reply

    It’s a toss-up. I’ve broken down three times, and every time I was in my Pontiac Sunturd. I hated that unreliable thing.

    The first time it decided to die, I was driving home from college, and it stalled, sputtered, and gave up outside a physical rehab facility where an uncle of mine had recovered following a surgery. I’d been there to visit, so I knew the staff. I went in, walked to the front desk to use the phone, and was met with, “Why are you here? Your uncle went home last week.”

    The next time it broke down, I had just returned from a weekend trip with friends and was leaving the apartment where one of them lived. It was February. It was 25 degrees. And the stupid car OVERHEATED. Thinking I had waited enough time for it to cool off before I removed the radiator cap turned out to be stupid. It exploded and covered me in hot antifreeze all over my left side. I ended up in the ER with chemical burns.

    The last time it died, I was in the turning lane on Broadway trying to maneuver on to I-65 South, so I understand the being cussed at scenario. I sold that car for parts the next weekend.

    • Joe Dubin January 6, 2015 2:02 am  Reply

      Ouch, the chemical burns!! Dang….

      and the first story, beautiful! Why are you here?? Bhahahahaha!!

  4. Brutus January 5, 2015 8:36 pm  Reply

    January 1986 the wheel fell off the old police car I was driving on Stewarts Ferry near where Elm Hill used to end into it–just walked home.
    Sometime in late 80s white truck broke down on Murfreesboro rd. near Nashboro village. Walt was with me and people started blowing the horn as the truck was slowing rapidly. I lost it and started screaming at everyone while Walt was laughing hysterically.

    • Joe Dubin January 6, 2015 2:01 am  Reply

      You screaming?

  5. Brutus January 5, 2015 8:38 pm  Reply

    If we hadn’t of moved you would know three people in Bellevue. I think Hunky still lives out there.

  6. Trisha January 5, 2015 11:16 pm  Reply

    Early 90s, middle of nowhere Missouri I-70 headed from Kansas City to St Louis. My car broke down so much no one would rose home with me from college. it would go great down the interstate and all of a sudden start bucking like a wild bronco. I had to pull over at a truck stop and call my dad…collect! He would tell me to keep driving (he’s a mechanic for crying out loud). When I got about 30 miles outside of St Louis I called him one last time and he met me. He drove it about 15 miles and had it towed the rest of the way home. (Really Dad, I drove it 200 miles and you couldn’t drive it 30????) Good times with the old Ford Escort! 🙂

    • Joe Dubin January 6, 2015 2:00 am  Reply

      Ahh, Dads…What was the problem eventually?

      • Trisha January 13, 2015 11:22 pm  Reply

        My dad, the Heavy Equipment mechanic, never changes the $2 fuel filter in all the times he showed me how to change the oil and change a flat. He has yet to live this down. 🙂

        • Joe Dubin January 14, 2015 3:35 am  Reply

          hahaha….that is awesome

  7. KonwayTweety January 7, 2015 3:39 am  Reply

    If you break down near Manchester lose my number jerk….

    • Joe Dubin January 14, 2015 3:37 am  Reply

      I cant, I have it tattooed…

    • Joe Dubin July 7, 2015 3:25 pm  Reply

      Is your # still 911?

  8. Matt Murdock January 7, 2015 10:08 pm  Reply

    I-24 West, just past Murfreesboro was my fav – Wade Neely and I traveling in my truck I-65 North in Giles Co. when my truck dies (just like your experience) Luckily I had family nearby – Loose alternator wire caused it – Wade was absolutely zero help and kept crying about how his phone battery was about to die

    • Joe Dubin January 14, 2015 3:36 am  Reply

      Typical Neely. He is Chris’ fave daughter.

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