Long haul trucking is a strange career. The demands are high — from the stress of traveling alone across the country to going days, weeks, or even months between visits home. The rewards are plenty too — from good wages to the opportunity to see parts of the country few others even know exist, much less get to see for themselves.
It’s a career that calls out to those with an independent streak, a love for the great outdoors, the ability to adapt and handle high stress situations calmly.
It’s also pretty much the perfect set up for a traveling serial killer.
This point was driven home in 2020 with the arrest of Clark Perry Baldwin who has been connected with potentially several murders, including that of the “I-90 Jane Doe” who has become well-known in true crime circles. Baldwin’s case remains in the legal system, but the accusations against him have highlighted just how easy it could be for someone with a career in long haul trucking to evade authorities.
But as the following cases show, serial killers have been found in the ranks of truckers for decades.
Edward Surratt was born in 1941 and had what can best be described as a tumultuous upbringing. Sexually abused by his mother, who also allowed her friends to use her son sexually, Surratt bounced in and out of school and legal trouble as a young man. During this time he also moved from his hometown in Pennsylvania to Ohio during a short-lived attempt to attend Youngstown University. After dropping out, Surratt moved back and picked up work when he could. He also curated a rap sheet that included petty crimes and the attempted rape of a 13 year old boy.
By 1977, Surratt had landed a job as a trucker working for a company based in South Carolina and one of his regular routes took him back through his home state of Pennsylvania and into the familiar terrain of Eastern Ohio.
It was also during this time that more than two dozen people died at the hands of an unknown madman throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and South Carolina.