Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, TowBlog!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Doubly Dangerous Duty In WI

Be sure to click the link and view the video news story of these two wrecker drivers during one dangerous weekend. The shots of the flattened flatbed are unbelievable... The first wrecker driver threw himself out of the truck just seconds before it was crushed by a jackknifed semi! Here's the story from NBC15.com:

Dangerous roads and questionable driving cause two crashes that come mere inches from killing tow truck drivers.
Tonight they say if other drivers don't learn their lesson, someone is going to die.
The pictures make it tough to believe anyone could walk away alive.
A flat bed tow truck, crushed like an aluminum can.
Bossert Auto Body owner Ed Bossert says, "My wrecker driver looked out of the window just in time to jump."
Friday afternoon on Highway 151, just outside of Mineral Point, a semi driver loses control, jackknifes and goes sliding straight for a wrecker parked on the side of the road.
The tow truck driver, in the cab at the time, sees the semi coming and dives out of the truck into the ditch a second before impact. The semi slides up the wrecker's ramp, shears off the top of the cab and pushes the wrecker 300 feet down the road.
Bossert says, "You know, I can replace the wrecker. I couldn't have replaced the guy. I don't know what I would have told his wife or the family. It's one of those things. People have to slow down."
In 30 years Bossert has never seen anything like it, and the dangerous weekend was just beginning.
On highway 151 alone there were two close calls and with fractions of a second difference, they could have been far worse.
A tow driver working for Greenwood Auto in Dodgeville says he thought he was dead.
Around 2 o'clock this morning he was pulling a car out of the ditch on 151, just 7 miles down the road from Friday's crash. He says a semi slid into his wrecker, throwing him 10 feet into the ditch.
In both crashes everyone escaped serious injury.
Bossert says, "It's just totally unbelievable that no one was killed."
Tonight both incidents prompt the same message.
Bossert says, "People have to learn to slow down."
Employees at both of these towing companies say they've seen their share of close calls over the years and many of them have been too close for comfort.
But they say these crashes are about as scary as it gets.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dangerous Duty In NC

We are keeping 47-year-old Eduardo Roque, an auto repair and towing business owner in Raleigh, NC, in our thoughts. Roque was struck on the side of the interstate on Jan. 9,  hospitalized in critical condition and one of his leg had to be amputated. Here's the story from WTVD-TV:

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The family of an injured tow truck driver said Monday it wants to know why Raleigh police have not charged the driver who hit him.
Eduardo Roque, 47, has had his leg amputated and was to face more surgery Tuesday.
"It's been hard, especially for me and my brothers," said Eduardo's daughter, Brenda Roque.
Eduardo was left in critical condition following an accident last Monday. That's when, according to police, Eduardo, who is an auto repair and towing shop owner, responded to a broken down car on the eastbound shoulder of Interstate 540.
Even though the tow truck's caution lights were flashing, and Eduardo was wearing a reflective safety vest, police say another driver hit him going about 60 miles per hour.
"He was still conscious when I saw him," said Brenda. "He was telling me that he felt like his leg was dying -- that he couldn't handle the pain no more."
Brenda said doctors amputated her dad's leg Saturday and were to perform pelvic surgery Tuesday.
As hospital bills continue to mount, and the family business barely gets by, Eduardo's family said he is heavily sedated, and doesn't fully understand yet what he or the family is going through.
"We are really scared how he's going to take it," said Brenda.
Seven days after the accident, police are still investigating. The wreck report shows the lane where it happened collapsing and drivers are supposed to merge, but investigators said the driver didn't switch lanes.
The family's lawyer, Eileen Mullen, said the law is clear.
"This caused serious injury to a public service vehicle operator," said Mullen, "therefore, making the driver negligent of a class one felony. Whether it be a tow truck driver, or a police officer, or an EMS personnel, we have this law for a reason."
"She does not necessarily have to go to jail, that's not what we're looking for, but my dad is going to need a lot of help," said Brenda.
ABC11 hasn't identified the driver because she has not been charged. Her insurance company won't help the Roques unless that happens.

Dangerous Duty In B.C.

Martin Butthof is held up by a bystander after he was struck by a car and pinned against his tow truck in Richmond, B.C. Jan. 15, 2012. (CTV)
Our thoughts are with 51-year-old Martin Butthof of British Columbia who was struck by a driver in Richmond, B.C., on Jan. 15 and pinned to his tow truck. One of Butthof's legs was severed and the other was broken in at least seven places. Butthof is an employee of Rusty's Towing. Here's the story from CTV News:

Criminal charges could be laid against the driver of a car that struck a tow-truck driver in Richmond last week, severing the victim's leg and severely damaging the other.
Mounties say they have nearly completed their investigation into the Jan. 15 collision that sent Martin Butthof to hospital in critical condition, and are now waiting for Crown prosecutors to decide if charges will be laid.
"This incident serves as a classic reminder of just how important it is for motorists to slow down and move over when passing emergency and maintenance vehicles," RCMP Cpl. Aaron Sproule said in a release.
"There are laws in place in B.C. requiring us to slow down and move over when passing emergency and maintenance vehicles when their hazard lights are on. Here we have a case where it appears somebody failed to obey that law and as a result we have a tow truck driver in the hospital with serious injuries."
Butthof, 51, was struck after he pulled over to help a man whose vehicle had spun out off the side of Highway 91. He was just in the process of hooking up the damaged vehicle when he was hit and pinned against his tow truck.
"I was just walking back to my truck, and my life changed forever, instantly," Butthof told CTV News on Sunday.
The collision severed one leg from his body and broke the other into about seven pieces, he said. He was set to undergo reconstructive surgery Monday on the remaining leg that will involve replacing a destroyed artery with one from the detached limb.
"I'm still kicking -- well, sort of. I've got one leg to stand on," he said from his hospital bed.
The driver of the car responsible for the crash remained at the scene and spoke with RCMP. Police say that weather and road conditions were poor at the time, but Butthof was operating his amber hazard lights and hazard board. Investigators do not believe the driver was drinking.
The company that Butthof worked for, Rusty's Towing, is taking several new precautions to protect its employees in the wake of the crash, including issuing flares to all drivers.
"A lot of the drivers here are not going to be doing recoveries on the highway until they've got a back-up -- another truck or freeway patrol. It's not worth it," assistant manager Calvin Mitchell said.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sad, Sad News From Ontario

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 49-year-old Paul Rocheleau who died Tuesday, 1/17/12, after being struck on the side of the highway. Rocheleau worked for Sandwich West Towing. Here's the story from The Montreal Gazette:

WINDSOR, Ont. — A 49-year-old Windsor Ont., tow-truck driver, whose last words warned a stranded motorist about speeding traffic on Highway 3, was struck and killed Tuesday by a passing car.
Paul Rocheleau, who was changing a tire in the median of the highway at approximately 11 a.m., when he was struck by a westbound Mercedes-Benz, will be remembered as a fun-loving father and grandfather.
"He was a very outgoing cheerful guy, no matter what," said Ken LaButte, Rocheleau's best friend of 30 years. "He didn't drink. He didn't smoke. He was very health-conscious. He was just an all-around nice guy. If you needed him, he was there for you."
OPP Sgt. Rick Tonial said the tow truck and car were in the median of a westbound lane and appeared to be in a legal spot to change a tire.
"I would say they were well off the roadway, about two feet off the roadway," Tonial said, though investigators had yet to confirm anything. "I believe it would be OK to do that there."
A black Lexus with a flat front passenger tire and a red jack sitting under the vehicle, sat in the median as OPP officers investigated the scene.
Three people were injured. Rocheleau and the driver of the car that hit him were rushed to hospital and Rocheleau later died of massive head and other injuries.
LaButte said Rocheleau remained positive despite tragedy in his life: losing a son and daughter in a fire years ago and the sudden death of a girlfriend.
"Above all that, he kept his chin up," LaButte said. "He had two daughters who he loved very much. And a (two-month-old) grandson. They meant everything to him."
Rocheleau, born and raised in River Canard, a hamlet approximately 10 kilometres south of Windsor, was a longtime motorcycle enthusiast who enjoyed playing pool and was safety conscious with everything he did.
He worked for many years at Maple Leaf Stamping and had spent the last three months as a tow-truck driver.
OPP temporarily closed both lanes of Highway 3, after the fatal accident.
Murray Bryant, 63, of London, was charged with careless driving.
Tuesday afternoon, the Sandwich West Towing truck sat several feet ahead over a toppled median sign, with a damaged front passenger side. About 70 metres ahead on the right side of the road was a Mercedes-Benz with damage to its front driver side.
"He (Rocheleau) had just told me to stand back because people are crazy on this road," said Paul Matteis, of Chatham, Ont., who was a passenger in the car with the flat tire. "The momentum took him and he landed right between the tow truck and the front of the car."
Matteis, who was clutching a rosary and who could not put pressure on his right leg, said the car brushed him as well.
"I was standing by the door handle," he said. "It grazed me and I went toward the car."
His brother David, who had called 911, was on the phone receiving instructions on how to perform CPR when police showed up and tried to revive Rocheleau.
"I could see he wasn't breathing," David said. "I knew he was gone."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

TRAA's Legislative & Leadership Conference 2012

The 15th Annual TRAA Legislative and Leadership Conference will be held at the Crystal City Marriott Hotel, Arlington, VA, on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th. With industry companies calling for in depth information as to how to increase business, work more efficiently and take advantage of new technology, this year’s theme is “Getting Down To Business.”

The Agenda includes expert s and panels who will share information on marketing strategies, accounting techniques, alternative revenue sources and internet opportunities. Interactive group brainstorming will be based on information gleaned from these presentations.

This year, in order to save on travel time and expense, we have moved the TRAA Board of Directors’ Meeting and General Business Meeting to Saturday afternoon, March 17, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
The entire schedule follows:

TRAA Legislative and Leadership Conference 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
3:00 PM–6:00 PM
WTRAA and TRAA Committee Meetings
6:00 PM–7:30 PM

Welcome Reception
Friday, March 16, 2012
9:00 AM–5:00 PM

Legislative and Leadership Conference
Saturday, March 17, 2012
9:00 AM–Noon
Legislative and Leadership Conference
1:00 PM–5:00 PM
TRAA Board of Directors’ and General Membership Meeting

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dangerous Duty In NY

Unbelievable... another report of a tow truck operator being struck on the side of the road. Please watch out, people, and MOVE OVER!  We hope that Austin Pruitt of Southside Towing makes a fast and full recovery! Here's the story from www.wktv.com:

SHARON, N.Y. (WKTV) - A tow driver from Utica was injured and a Cooperstown woman ticketed after an accident in Schoharie County on Wednesday [1/4/12]  night.
According to Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond, the driver, from Southside Towing on Whitesboro Street in Utica, was loading another vehicle onto his flatbed on Route 20 in the Town of Sharon, just outside of the village.
Sheriff Desmond said that the car being loaded onto the flatbed was then struck by, Elizabeth A. Salerno, 73, of Cooperstown. That car being loaded on the flatbed then struck the tow truck driver, Austin Pruitt, of Southside Towing in Utica. Salerno is then accused of leaving the scene.
Pruitt was taken to Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown via the Sharon Springs Rescue Squad, and was released from the hospital overnight.
Thursday afternoon, Pruitt's co-workers at Southside Towing said he was "all right, but in a neck brace and in a lot of pain."
According to Sheriff Desmond, Salerno was ticketed with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, as well as for not moving over for a tow truck - a new law that took effect in the new year.
Salerno is scheduled to answer those charges in Sharon Town Court on January 18.

Dangerous Duty In OR

We hope that Evan Kavanaugh recovers quickly! Kavanaugh, 30, works for Wiltse's Towing of Salem and was struck as he working to tow a vehicle from the roadside. Here's the story from the Statesman-Journal:

A van sideswiped a tow truck driver, pinning the man to his own rig on Commercial Street SE today.
Salem Police Lt. Keith Blair said the truck had stopped to tow a vehicle from an unrelated traffic stop made by a Salem officer. The driver got out of the Wiltse’s Towing rig when he was hit by a 2003 Ford Windstar van.
According to a crash report, the truck driver was pinned between the van and truck and rolled as the van continued driving, Blair said.
An officer stopped the van near the intersection of Commercial Street SE and Boice Street S. The van’s driver asked what she had done wrong and asked the officer to fix her side view mirror, which had folded during the crash, Blair said.
The woman, who apparently didn’t know she’d hit the driver, was not injured. Police identified her as Mildred Brown, 89, of Jefferson, and said she was given a citation alleging careless driving.
The tow truck driver, Evan Kavanaugh, 30, of Salem, suffered minor injuries. His condition was unknown this evening.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sad News From PA

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 23-year-old Andrew Smith, who was killed just after midnight on Wednesday, 1/4/12, after being hit by a tractor trailer on the side of the road. Smith worked for HJ Towing & Recovery of Landisburg, PA.

Here's the story from www.abc27.com:

A tow truck operator was struck and killed along Route 581 in Cumberland County early Wednesday while assisting the driver of a disabled vehicle.
Andrew Smith, 23, of Landisburg, was hit by a westbound tractor-trailer and died at the scene, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Matthew Stoner.
State police said Smith was in the right shoulder and was attempting to load a disabled Dodge pickup truck onto the flatbed.
He was operating the toggle switch on the driver's side of the tow truck when he was struck in the area of mile post 7.4  in Lemoyne.
The driver of the pickup truck, Adam Knox of Mechanicsburg, was standing on the shoulder near the guardrail and was not hurt.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, identified by police as 63-year-old John Rosenberger Jr. from Newark, N.Y., was also not injured.
No charges have been filed.