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TowNews

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  1. UPDATED: SAN FRANCISCO - Five law enforcement and a tow truck driver hospitalized after possible fentanyl exposure on the Golden Gate Bridge have been released from the hospital, an official said Monday. Four California Highway Patrol officers, a Golden Gate Bridge patrol officer and a bridge tow truck driver were exposed to a chemical substance believed to be fentanyl while attempting to aid the driver of a car who stopped Sunday on the San Francisco bridge, said CHP Officer Andrew Barclay. All six were transported to Marin General Hospital for exposure to the substance. The first officer that came in contact with the unconscious driver was convulsing and vomiting on the ground. The others were treated for nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vision changes, and other symptoms consistent with fentanyl exposure, Barclay said. All had been released by Monday, he said. Authorities received reports of a drunken driver swerving erratically before stopping on the south end of the bridge Sunday, Barclay said. One of the officers who found the driver unconscious was also rendered unconscious by a “white powdery substance” found in the car, he said. “Two others on the scene — a CHP officer and a tow-truck driver — tried to help the first officer out of the car, and administered Narcan,” Barclay said, referring to a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of narcotics and prevent overdoses. The unconscious driver was also given Narcan and taken to a hospital. The driver was also released from the hospital and has since been booked into jail for DUI and possession of a controlled substance, Barclay said. RESOURCE LINK
  2. Tow Truck Driver Struck and Killed on 210 Freeway in La Verne A tow truck driver was struck and killed Monday night on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway in La Verne and the driver of the vehicle suspected of hitting the person was being questioned by authorities. Witnesses reported a white BMW was being driven erratically near Fruit Street about 8:45 p.m. and nearly crashed into vehicles, according to the California Highway Patrol. Moments later, officers found a person down on the right side of the eastbound freeway and began to receive calls that a semi was slowing the suspect vehicle down, the CHP said. Video from the scene showed investigators examining the vehicle, which was stopped on the right shoulder of the freeway with the semi a short distance in front of it. The driver was arrested, NBCLA photographer Alex Vasquez reported from the scene. The age, gender and name of the victim were not disclosed. RESOURCE LINK
  3. 4 hospitalized, including police and tow truck driver, after possible fentanyl exposure. SAN FRANCISCO - Two police officers, a tow truck driver, and a DUI suspect were transported to the hospital Sunday following what authorities believe was exposure to the powerful opioid fentanyl. Officials responded to a report of a possible DUI driver on the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, according to Andrew Barclay with the California Highway Patrol. They say the vehicle had crashed by the time officers were on the scene. An officer approached the vehicle, found the driver passed out, and then got inside to put the car in park before being overcome by a chemical, officials said. A second officer and a tow truck driver pulled the disoriented officer out of the vehicle and administered Narcan, a nasal spray that can treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. The suspect was also given Narcan and transported to the hospital. As a precaution for minor exposure, the second officer and the tow truck driver were given Narcan and transported for treatment as well. The status of their condition was not immediately available. While officials believe the exposure was to fentanyl, an investigation is underway and the cause has not yet been determined. RESOURCE LINK
  4. Two men died in East Akron this weekend in separate traffic accidents. One involving a Tow Truck. (Article has been edited down to one story) A 60-year-old man was struck Saturday evening while standing beside his pickup truck, which had broken down on a ramp. Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller said the 60-year-old man had called a tow truck for assistance after his disabled 2008 Dodge Ram truck came to a stop on the shoulder of the downhill ramp from East Wilbeth Road to I-77 North. With the flatbed tow truck on scene just before 11 p.m., Miller said the “victim was standing alongside the driver’s side of vehicle when another northbound vehicle swiped the truck, hitting the victim.” The second vehicle fled the scene. The tow truck driver could not give a description. There’s no known surveillance footage of the crash, Miller said. Police have collected debris from the collision, which will be analyzed to determine the make and model of the hit-skip vehicle and possibly track down the driver. RESOURCE LINK
  5. Follow up on officer: Charleston County deputy hurt in crash is now able to walk again CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County deputy seriously hurt in a crash on the Don Holt bridge two months ago is now able to walk again. Deputy Mike Costanzo is being treated at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and released a statement on Wednesday. “I have been rehabilitating during my time at Shepherd Center, and I am very appreciative of the staff here," Costanzo said. "I am able to walk again, and my motivation is to get back to serving as a deputy sheriff. I can see and feel all of the love and support from everyone in Charleston. I am so grateful.” Just two weeks after the crash, Costanzo told his fellow deputies he would be back at the sheriff’s office on Oct. 15. No charges have been filed in connection to the July 1 crash. A tow truck driver named Will Ellis was killed. His family is now suing two drivers involved in the crash. State troopers say no charges have been formally filed as of yet. RESOURCE LINK
  6. VIDEO IN LINK BELOW GLADEWATER, Texas (KLTV) - Wrecker companies are always busy; vehicles break down and accidents happen. But vehicles are also abandoned, and at least one wrecker company says that is happening more often since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Although as it turned out it was not the case in this instance, vehicles break down, are pushed somewhere, and just left there since some owners can’t afford to fix them. Ryan Hill with 271 Wreckers in Gladewater says in his four years of pickups he’s seen an increase in abandoned vehicles. “A lot of these are coming from gas stations and even side of the road. It’s almost like people are walking away not wanting to deal with the financial liability of having it towed, getting it repaired,” Hill said. And some, Ryan said, like the one he had just picked up, became abandoned because the owner had pandemic related financial issues. “She couldn’t afford to pay the note on the car that she has. The lienholder didn’t want to pick the vehicle up; they didn’t want to pay to pick the vehicle up. It has some mechanical issues with it, but her landlord wanted the vehicle removed so we’re helping the landlord, we’re helping the tenant,” Hill said. So it’s not always as simple as a broken-down car that costs too much to fix, but that is also the case. “Many of these vehicles, the amount of repair it would take; it would be a totaled vehicle, honestly, you know. Needs a new motor, needs a new tranny, a whole new suspension. The list can go on and on. These vehicles have to be dealt with somehow,” Hill said. Ryan says sometimes the lien holder will eventually pick up the vehicle but: “It doesn’t always happen. We’ve had vehicles stay in our impound that never get picked up by lean holders, never get picked up by owners,” Hill said. He says, with the proper title work a few of them can be fixed and sold: “But a big majority of them just never make it back on the road,” Hill said. He says that if they’re not picked up by someone abandoned vehicles would end up littering the sides of our roadways. Abandoned vehicles stay in impound lots for a while, but if they start filling up the property they are sold to salvage yards for parts vehicles, or for scrap. RESOURCE LINK with video
  7. Maryland State Police Investigating Crash That Killed Tow Truck Operator In Prince George’s County September 10, 2020 (COLLEGE PARK, MD) – Maryland State Police are investigating a crash that killed a tow truck operator working on the side of the road Wednesday evening in Prince George’s County. The victim is identified as Jose Maria Zuniga, 76, or Silver Spring, Maryland. Zuniga was transported by ambulance to University of Maryland Prince George’s Medical Center, where he died. The driver of the 2015 Dodge Charger involved in the crash is identified as John Lewis Tunstall III, 31, of Glenarden, Maryland. Charges are pending the outcome of the investigation and consultation with the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. Tunstall, who remained at the scene, was transported to the hospital by troopers before being released. The two other passengers in his car were uninjured in the crash. At about 9:25 p.m. on Wednesday, troopers from the Maryland State Police College Park Barrack responded to a call of a pedestrian struck on westbound Route 50 at MD 704. According to a preliminary investigation, Zuniga was picking up a vehicle when he was struck by the mirror of Tunstall’s car. No arrests have been made at this time in connection of the crash. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the College Park Barrack at 301-345-3101 RESOURCE LINK
  8. Appellate Court Cuts $10M Award For Maimed Truck Driver Sept. 9, 2020, 8:22 PM An Illinois court of appeals on Tuesday vacated a $10 million punitive damages award for a tow truck driver who lost an eye and fractured his skull when the hood of his truck slammed down on his head in windy Chicago weather is entitled to a $9.5 million compensatory award, but a $10 million punitive damages award against Paccar Inc., the truck manufacturer, must be vacated, an Illinois appeals court said. The safety cable and hook system at the heart of the case, “no matter how flawed, was not on Truck 55 at the time of the accident,” and the radiator and hood were not Paccar’s original parts, the Appellate Court of Illinois said Tuesday.
  9. Anyone with information is urged to call the Detroit Police Department DETROIT – A tow truck driver is recovering after being badly injured in a hit-and-run incident while doing his job on I-94. It’s a call Lavish Towing company owner Lavish Williams never expected. “I got a strange voice over the 2-way radio from a lady who was hysterical,” Williams said. “She was pretty much saying, ‘Your driver just got hit on the freeway.’” It all happened on I-94 near Woodward Avenue on Tuesday night as the driver was attempting to tow a vehicle. His partner, Juhnn’e Bailey saw it all. “I heard the crash and when I turned around, his legs were in the air,” recalled Juhnn’e Bailey. Sadly, the driver took off and no one immediately stopped to help. “They didn’t even slow down. They kept going and at least eight or nine cars were behind it. That’s why I never saw the car that came,” added Bailey. David Salomon now has a few bad injuries, including having to get several staples in his head and a broken foot. “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. I was up about at least 8 feet in the sky. Came back down and I don’t remember nothing else after that,” said Salomon. And his boss is pleading with drivers to move over when seeing tow truck drivers flung their jobs. “When you see these lights on, people really need to take head and move over. It’s a reason why we have these lights on. We gotta dangerous job that’s not really spoke on too much. They don’t realize the dangers that is tow operators actually go through,” Williams concluded. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detroit Police Department at 313-596-5200. RESOURCE LINK Tow truck driver somehow survives freeway hit and run in Detroit A sweet reunion outside a Detroit Towing Company as truck driver David Salomon still can't believe he survived... DETROIT (FOX 2) - There was a sweet reunion outside a Detroit Towing Company as truck driver David Salomon still can't believe he survived. "You can see the staples in the top of my head," he said. With his girlfriend by his side, Salomon trying to remember the moment he was hit, not even 24 hours earlier. "I saw my legs up in the air when he smacked me," Salomon said. Salomon, with his truck lights on, says when he began bringing the disabled car onto the flatbed, a car slammed into him. "I looked to the side and another vehicle just came and hit me and knocked me up into the air," he said. Hearing the loud crash, Bailey jumped out of the passenger seat. "I kept screaming for him, but I couldn't find him," she said. Bailey then found her boyfriend bleeding from his head and foot. The person who hit him was long gone. "How can you hit somebody, no you hit somebody and keep going," she said. "A piece of your bumper is still on the freeway." Bailey says that about 30 cars continued to drive by without slowing down or moving over. and Salomon almost got hit a second time. "I'm like literally dragging this man trying to get him off the road and nobody stopped," she said. "(This) ain't no city I want to live in." Bailey pulled him to safety but was unsure where they were. She alerted his boss over the truck radio. "(They asked) 'Is he ok?' I'm like, 'No,'" she said. Salomon's boss rushed to the scene along with an ambulance and Michigan State Police. "If he would've been behind the truck, he wouldn't have been here to speak. He would've been pinned," said Lavish T. Williams, owner of the tow company. Salomon treated at the hospital for a fractured foot and injuries to his head and lower back. "I'm still trying to figure out how I survived it, because that was a hit," Salomon said. Salomon hopes this will remind people to slow down and move over when you see vehicles with flashing lights on the side of the road. State police are working to get a description of that car. and everyone is hoping witnesses, and that driver, to come forward.. "The driver that hit me. I hope he finds his conscience and acknowledges what you did," Salomon said. "This should be weighing very heavily on your mind," Williams said. "You could've killed this guy." RESOURCE LINK with video
  10. A group of Pennsylvania state lawmakers is looking to increase protections for police, first responders, and tow truck drivers. Specifically, their proposal would revamp the state’s “Steer Clear Law.” It was established as Act 20 of 2017, requiring drivers to move over and slow down when approaching a roadside emergency. Following a recent string of roadside accidents involving first responders and tow truck drivers, Senators Doug Mastriano (R- Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, York) and Kim Ward (R- Westmoreland) are trying to bolster protections for those that respond to emergencies on Pennsylvania’s roadways. The pair are prime co-sponsors one Senate Bill 1231. “I can’t think of anything more simple than slowing down and moving over if you can,” says Sen. Ward. “I want to re-emphasize a very important message to every driver out there: move over and slow down when you see and are approaching an emergency scene,” she adds. Senate Bill 1281 would re-brand the state’s “Steer Clear Law” as the “Move Over Law.” Under the proposal, failing to move over and slow down when approaching an emergency scene will result in harsher penalties. “It will first re-brand the Steer Clear Law to Move Over. It can’t be any clearer, just move over. Number two- establish a new point system to increase the pain. If you don’t move the heck over, you’re going to have some severe consequences on your license. Two points. And it will double the fines for a summary offense,” Sen. Mastriano says. As the Senator explained, this bill would give drivers two points on their license for failing to abide by the move over law. The bill would also double fines, calling for $500 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for a second offense, and $2,000 for a third offense. The proposal would also implement new requirements for drivers approaching an emergency scene. The bill would require drivers who can’t move over safely to slow down to at least 20 miles below the posted speed limit. It would also require PennDOT to educate the public on this issue throughout the year. “Every Pennsylvania motorist has a responsibility to prevent these disastrous accidents by moving over whenever you see a vehicle with emergency lights or flashers on the side of the roadway,” says Sen. John DiSanto (R- Dauphin, Perry), who is another co-sponsor of the bill. Senator Mastriano calls it a problem for Pennsylvania. According to State Police data, 7,075 citations and 3,204 warnings were given out during 2018-2019 for failing to abide by the Steer Clear Law. So far this year across the United States, there have been 35 fatalities from vehicles failing to move over. That includes two here in Pennsylvania. On the morning of January 5th, 44-year-old paramedic Matt Smeltzer was killed while responding to a crash on I-70. Then in July, 29-year-old firefighter and tow truck driver Tyler Laudenslager was killed while responding to an accident on I-78 in Berks County. In both incidents, vehicles failing to move over hit the vehicles the two men responded in. “We as first responders are asking for more awareness for the public, more stringent penalties for violators of the move over law. We are simply asking for the opportunity to allow first responders to safely return home to their families,” says John Storey Jr, Deputy Fire Chief of the Hempfield Fire Department in Westmoreland County. Storey Jr. is a survivor of a roadside incident himself. Senate Bill 1281 is sitting in the Senate Transportation Committee, which is chaired by Senator Ward. She says that committee will vote on the bill Wednesday morning. If passed, it will then head to the Senate for a full vote. RESOURCE LINK
  11. The tow truck driver parked next to this open inspection drain in the dark, and fell in after stepping out of his vehicle. Image: Netcare 911 On Sunday night a towing operator fell about 5m down a water inspection drain which had one of its covers missing. Shawn Herbst of Netcare 911 said paramedics were alerted about a collision at 9.40pm on Sunday in Tshepisong, Soweto. One person sustained minor injuries in the accident involving two vehicles. Herbst said the tow truck driver arrived on scene soon after the collision. When he climbed out of his vehicle, he fell into a manhole located next to his door of his vehicle. Emergency personnel at the scene rushed to his aid. "A private service paramedic and rescue technician were lowered into the hole to assess the patient, who was found to have sustained serious injuries. "The patient was treated and stabilised by an emergency care practitioner and, with the use of spinal immobilisation equipment and a rope system, he was brought to the surface where treatment continued." A helicopter ambulance airlifted him to a specialist facility for further care, said Herbst. RESOURCE LINK
  12. CORDELE, Ga. (WALB) - The Cordele Police Department is asking for the community’s assistance in identifying a tow truck. Police said the truck picked up a 2009, light blue Toyota Camry in the 1200 block of 13th Street on Aug. 27, around 3 p.m. During the investigation, police said they determined that the vehicle was not repossessed but was taken unlawfully. There is writing on the side of the truck but it is unreadable. Anyone with any information regarding the above tow truck is asked to contact Captain Farrow at the Cordele Police Department at (229) 276-2921.
  13. Note: This video was posted on You Tube Sept. 3, 2020 Does anyone know where and what company this is...?
  14. VIDEO PENDING ASHLAND, Ohio (WJW) – A tow truck driver was recognized Thursday for his heroic acts that fire officials say helped save three lives following a horrific crash on I-71 in July. “A Saturn Outlook with seven occupants inside was struck from behind by a tractor trailer causing them both to leave the roadway,” said Ashland Fire Chief Rick Anderson. “The tractor trailer became lodged on top of the vehicle trapping all seven occupants. The crash claimed the lives of four people but because of Derrick, three people were saved.” The chief said Derrick Hamilton found a way to get the tow truck in a tight space between trees so that the tractor trailer could be lifted from the vehicle. “He truly was the one, the pivotal person,” Anderson said. “His work let the guys get in and do their job and do it safely .” Hamilton was awarded the Ashland Division of Fire’s Civilian Medal of Honor. The chief said this is just the second civilian of medal honor he has given in 10 years. Hamilton says he is just grateful that he was able to help. “Something I will just never forget is when they were trying to figure things out, I heard something about we found a pulse and that was go time,” Hamilton said. “I was going to do whatever I had to do to get something done. “ He also thanked his boss, Aaron Aber of Aber’s Towing, for coming to the scene to help. “We have to take care of the people and obviously there were lives in jeopardy,” Aber said. “We want to help.” According to Lt. Raymond Durant of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, no charges have been filed in the crash and the case remains under investigation. RESOURCE LINK with video
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