Bo Wells was sitting inside his truck at a Pilot travel center in Dallas on Monday, waiting for management at Celadon Group Inc. to give him instructions on where to drop off his company-owned truck.
He is one of about 4,000 Celadon Group Inc. employees who suddenly lost their jobs after the Indianapolis-based company announced Monday that it had filed for bankruptcy and was going out of business immediately.
"The shutdown has caused a lot of confusion and aggravation to say the least," Wells wrote in a Facebook message. "All employers, and including drivers, have been kept in the dark until midnight (Monday) last night & — even us out here with loads."
Celadon abruptly announced Monday that it would lay off all its employees in the United States, Canada and Mexico as the company unwinds its global operations.
A WARN notice has yet to be posted to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development website.
The 34-year-old company and its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware federal court, citing approximately $427 million in assets and $391 million in debt as of Dec. 2.
The bankruptcy comes just days after two former executives were arrested on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and conspiracy to make false statements to Celadon accountants and falsify records.
Monday drivers in a Facebook group for Celadon truckers expressed exasperation that the company shutdown took place so close to Christmas, sought advice on how to get home and inquired about new job opportunities.
Competitors also posted messages to recruit Celadon drivers.
Wells, who is from Mississippi, said he hasn't been able to reach anyone, but people have offered to buy him a bus ticket home. But because his truck doubles as his home on the road, he said that option did not work for him.
"At this time I have no idea of how I'm getting home," he explained via a Facebook message early Monday. "This is catching all of us off guard. We all have too much stuff in our trucks to carry on a bus."
On Saturday, Wells had a load of freight when he stopped for fuel. He had to wait several hours for the company to turn on his fuel card so he could deliver the goods to Celadon customers. Most trucks have two 100 gallon tanks, he explained, adding that fuel can cost up to $600.
Some drivers have been bracing themselves for the news.
Kevin Williams, a driver of six years, returned from Thanksgiving break last Monday when he heard rumors that Celadon would be closing. Having just moved his winter clothes into his truck, Williams spent the week checking for confirmation of the rumor online.
"I can't really blame the people at Celadon because I don't know if they knew or not, but for it to happen so close to the holidays it's like, yeah that's kind of cold," he said.
Early Monday, Williams sat at a Wytheville, Virginia, rest stop, filling out job applications with other trucking companies.
Still, Williams said he doesn't hold animosity toward Celadon. He considered the company a good employer and wasn't nervous that he would be left stranded after turning in his truck.
He said he thinks the company just had a run of bad luck.
A message from Celadon delivered just after midnight Monday confirmed the bankruptcy and assured drivers that everyone who followed instructions for returning equipment would be paid for their work and miles, he said.
Recruiters and other trucking companies have reached out to help Celadon drivers, with some offering to rent cars so drivers can get home, said Williams, an independent contractor who's been driving for Celadon for about a year.
He will head up to Ohio to drop off a load and then to Indianapolis where he'll drop off his truck. Williams, who lives in Virginia, said another Indianapolis company had already offered him a job by 1 p.m. Monday.
"Recruiters had been trying to get in touch with us since Saturday," he added.
Follow Alexandria Burris on Twitter: @allyburris.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Celadon truck drivers seek answers after sudden company bankruptcy