SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The owner of a towing company has pleaded guilty to altering the business’ vehicles to produce an illegal amount of emissions to save money.
Dennis Cleveland, the owner of Affordable Towing, pleaded guilty on March 9 in a plea deal to conspiracy and tampering with a Clean Air Act monitoring device.
The Clean Air Act requires diesel trucks to have devices that control emissions. Cleveland pleaded guilty to having his heavy-duty commercial diesel trucks’ exhaust systems and diagnostic computer systems altered to allow him to continue using the trucks without having to pay to maintain or repair them.
According to court documents, disabling diesel trucks’ emission controls can increase nitrogen oxide output by 310 times, tailpipe carbon monoxide output by 120 times, particulate matter by 40 times and non-methane hydrocarbons by 1,100 times.
Cleveland admitted to taking the trucks to Full Flash Tuning — a Springfield business owned by Robert Dyche — several times in 2021 and 2022 to have these alterations done.
Dyche also pleaded guilty to a federal information that charges him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.
For the conspiracy charge, Cleveland is facing a minimum penalty of probation and a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Cleveland is not yet scheduled for his sentencing. Involved parties have until March 23 to object to the plea agreement.