Quantcast
Jump to content
  • Come join the TowForce community.

    Sign in to get started and to receive Tower Down Notices.

Tower Down 05.31.19 (CA)


TowNews
 Share

Recommended Posts

Tow Truck Driver Fatally Struck by Big Rig in Hit-and-Run on the 5 Freeway Near Castaic

 

A big rig driver fled the scene after striking and killing a tow truck driver who was working alongside the 5 Freeway near Castaic on Friday evening, officials said.

 

The crash took place about 8:15 p.m. on the southbound side of the freeway, north of Templin Highway, according to California Highway Patrol logs.

 

The tow truck driver was in the process of towing a broken down vehicle when his truck was struck by the big rig, logs show.

 

Paramedics pronounced the victim dead at the scene, CHP Officer Stephan Brandt said.

 

The involved big rig was initially described by witnesses as red and black, hauling a double trailer filled with some sort of rocks, possibly fitted with Arizona license plates, officials said.

 

The CHP issued a Sig Alert for the two right-hand lanes of the freeway as the investigation continued.

Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s Newhall-area office at 661-294-5540.

 

RESOURCE LINK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just 6 Days since the last Towers Down. Seems the industry is devastated by the tragic news nearly every week. The to as though it cannot be any worse the coward strikes the Tow Truck and the Operator Killing him or her and flees the scene. No strike that Murdering the Tow Operator, it maybe involuntary but Murder non the less in this instance and others.

 

Gods Speed... Sending our Thought's & Prayers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad, even more so that it was a hit and run. Before I pass judgement I would like to see the scene photos, perhaps the truck driver wasn't aware he hit someone?

 

In either case, we as an industry need to stop working in unprotected work zones. Without signage and lane closures we do not have a chance out here.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brian, while we await further details. I based my respond on the statement which appears in the story.

 

"The tow truck driver was in the process of towing a broken down vehicle when his truck was struck by the big rig, logs show."

 

Updates will be added as the news is updated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadley enough , The move over law is just not out there enough, people don't care . they don't see any reasson ro move over or to slow down. if the law dose'nt enforce it, then why have it! the fines that come with it here in oregon  are'nt enough. i would think my life and fellow operators life are worth more than The fine for this violation is currently $265.00 ($525.00 if the location is within a safety corridor, school zone or work zone.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So Sorry to hear about this loss, our industry is under attack and it is though we can do nothing to hinder another family from losing their loved one. We send them our Love and Pray they find peace at the end of the day. As difficult as that is to say or do. Hope they Find the Killer soon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I Get these Tow Down Message and I Get Mad... Mad that people cannot give us room to work. Thanks TowForce for the notifications. Hate to get them every few days, but really want to know. Still not gonna tell the family as they worry enough now. RIP DRIVER

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Common guys … give Brian a break. I support his comments as correct regarding roadside safety versus that of safety for pedestrian tow operators. This section of California’s I-5, towards Gorman and Lebec, is extremely rural, wide, winding and fast traveled. Plus, at 8:30 in the PM, it’s totally pitch-black with no streetlights. If you’re driving a car at 80-mph, you’re driving too slow. And, there are only a couple of CHP units covering the many miles covering the Grapevine area which is the only north south trucking corridor to an from Los Angeles.

 

Not to prejudge this incident, the industry’s history has proved that that, if towers are routinely struck as pedestrian workers, was it possible that this operator may have been working/standing near the white-line side when struck by the semi noting; there are other versions of this crash to suggest the Triple-A tow operator was reportedly working to hook-up a disabled vehicle with the motorists inside the disabled vehicle at the time of the strike.

 

Accordingly, I'll suggest that, all the cones, flares, signs, blockers, cops and whatever ... doesn’t negate the fact that working on or near the white-line side is a dangerous place to be. And, THAT’S the first component of operator safety … stay away from the traffic side where semi-trucks lurk.  I believe this fatality is a prime example to show that, when there isn’t available assistance in a rural location, it demands that towers be that much more diligent in their actions when working shoulder events.

 

That being said, of the 30x operators killed on California’s highways this year, nearly one-half killed were pedestrian workers. Perhaps the message of white-line safety isn’t being effectively taught by companies, while at the same time, towers continue to place themselves in harm’s way. Consider this tragic fatality another lesson learned. Christine and I send our prayers to the tower’s family and the company he worked for.     R.

 

  • Thanks 1

Randall C. Resch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, brian991219 said:

Sad, even more so that it was a hit and run. Before I pass judgement I would like to see the scene photos, perhaps the truck driver wasn't aware he hit someone?

 

In either case, we as an industry need to stop working in unprotected work zones. Without signage and lane closures we do not have a chance out here.

A law is not going to protect you on the side of the highway. If you as a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, are depending on a "law" to protect you from 80,000 lbs of steel and plastic and propelling down the road at 70 miles an hour, you need to go sell everything you own and put a bet down on the red marble at the roulette when in Vegas. You will have far better odds with the red ball. I stopped to assist a woman just yesterday who was stuck on the US 281 to IH 410 East bound flyover who had suffered a blowout. An Airport police officer stopped and shut down a lane to ensure that the vehicle could be tended to while minimizing the risk. 

 

Randy, Brian, myself, nor anyone else can ensure that you as a person work in a safe environment it is up to you. I am an advocate for OSHA getting belly deep into this industry and mandating that safe operating procedures be initiated. I hope, wish, and pray that they levy hundreds of 35,000.00 fines for companies that do not initiate and implement safety plans that will save lives. I hope that these fines cause business entities that do not make safety their number one priority to close. Yes, I hope they put companies that do not do everything in their power to ensure that their drivers go home safe completely out of business. I say this as someone who despises government. I hate government interference in business. But I hate for people to die needlessly on the side of the road when it is totally preventable. I say this with the understanding that there is no way to prevent all deaths on the side of the road. The risk will never be 100% mitigated. But the 65 people who will die on the side of the road can be reduced to single digits. One death is far too many. But 65 is totally unacceptable to me, and it should be to you too if you are reading this. 

 

Someone asked previously who the industry leaders were. The industry leaders are YOU. YOU are the one who has the power to make a difference. YOU are the person who has the opportunity to refuse a call when all precautions are not met. YOU are the one who has the capacity to demand a safer work environment. YOU are the one who pays the ultimate price if a perfect storm of misfortune meets at the location you are working as a service provider. When I had a heated exchange between a state trooper and myself when he arrogantly refused to close a lane for me to work safely and I proceeded to tell him how things were going to work, it preempted a meeting with his command staff. We all came to an understanding on what roadside safety meant. When I asked how many lanes and how many hours the road would be closed if I were a fatality victim, they had not answer. We now have a much deeper understanding of respect for one another after me walking from a crash scene. And they are well aware that I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron ... you beat me by second ...  this update in information, as reported to the news by the CHP and from other sources, comments indicated the tower may have been changing a tire or could be have been preparing to load a car onto a carrier because it had a flat tire being the reason for the call? No matter what the trouble-code read, the car could have should have been loaded from the non-traffic side in a Tow First manner.

 

A news photograph taken at the fatality scene where three CHP officers are seen to be looking closely at the driver's side, rear area of the carrier, and the rear area of where the customer's vehicle rear tire is located ... both clearly at the white-line side. See the link ... what are your thoughts? 

 

Note:  Photo Source RMG NEWS        https://abc7.com/tow-truck-driver-struck-killed-by-big-rig-in-hit-and-run-in-castaic-area/5326142/

 

Those areas in the photo are consistent with where tow operator typically work/stand as well as where the (POI) Point of Impact would have been when the semi stuck the tower. It's also clear that the carrier's, amber overhead lights, were on, but the carrier's deck was in a full-tilt load position with the disabled vehicle parked behind it. Unless the disabled vehicle had its parking lights on, the vehicle's position would have blocked the lower and rearward facing lights. There's nothing in the news or CHP's comments to reflect that road flares or cones were visible to the rear. All of these factors (surmised from a single picture) may suggest that there's a huge gap between what should be solid training requirements versus what's not being conducted in the field.

 

How do we as an industry, "Connect the Dots?" Can OSHA help to regulate training? Should there be more training? While I think that the industry's training is the best it's ever been ... it's not reaching the grand majority of the towers out there to reflect the numbers of tow operator's killed.

 


 

 

 

rmg news.jpg

  • Like 1

Randall C. Resch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Randy, as you well know, the root problem with training is so many bodies are in the class simply because their boss made them attend. With no real desire to be educated they don't practice what they were taught, hell I bet they don't even retain 10% of it.

 

The onus is on the employer to enforce good safety discipline as well as provide options such as blocker trucks, flares, cones and other means to protect the work zone.

 

However this costs money and will chase some of the workforce away, which in turn leads to higher rates. The hard sell will be with the wholesale customers, they must come to understand what the true cost of professional -read safe- service really is.

 

What I see in this image supports my earlier hypothesis that the tractor trailer driver may not even be aware he hit something, especially pulling double trailers aka "wiggle wagons". If you look closely at the carrier there is no visible evidence of impact, it as well as the disabled vehicle are still straight in line, not even the mirror on the carrier is pushed in.

 

I do believe having the bed at such a steep angle may have contributed to inadequate scene lighting, but again without all the evidence all I can is theorize at the moment.

 

One thing I am sure of, this is a senseless tragedy that didn't need to happen.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, while this is a discussion which should be taking place more and more. I never have considered the Tower Down Report to be the proper venue for in depth or heated discussion. I believe it is meant for Condolences, so I have taken some of the remarks and created a topic of discussion. I hope everyone added their thoughts to that topic and this one returns to Thoughts Prayers & Sentiments. Years ago these topic drew many of these replies, something happened and many click the link read and move on. They may think about it, it likely bothers them at the moment. But nothing changes and a week later another tower loses their life. As an industry we're going to run out of Quality Tow Operators as they seek a less hazardous career.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right on Brian. But, forget about the costs. Cost shouldn't be a factor in safety and prevention.

 

In all business plans, that should be the first consideration is how to keep a company's employees safe in the work-place. And, that's accomplished by safety, processes and training. We know it ... we see it ... we teach it. But, where is safety lost in translation when tower's can't retain even 10-percent? I'll go out on a limb here to suggest that on-scene safety is the responsibility of each tow company owner. It's each owner's responsibility to make sure towers have the, "mental tools and preparations", before sending their personnel onto the highway.

 

I personally feel the industry has lost it's sense of safety by making bling and monster-tow trucks the priority while safety and survival scrapes the bottom of the proverbial barrel. I evidenced that recently by noting seven, only seven attendees, including you Brian, attend a PTSD seminar versus that of seeing literally hundreds of towers watching a rotator being run through its paces at the same tow show. 

 

It's evidenced in these posts where only a handful of personalities have the guts to approach those procedures and processes that get tower's killed. When an industry doesn't care about it's people, its current state will only get worse before it ever gets better. We know the issues, so, what's it take to overcome the lack of safety awareness in a proactive manner?

 

One can't expect to peer down the barrel of a gun with the possibility of being shot in the face  right?

  • Like 3

Randall C. Resch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Randy and Brian, I have a high regard and respect for both of you. Thanks for all you do. If OSHA were to mandate policy that a certain number of feet of traffic lane must be vacated for a scene to be worked when working next to the highway and that a structural mechanism capable of absorbing an impact be utilized this will be an additional expense that will be required to be billed out. If the burden to implement this mechanism is placed on the party who requests the service response, be it a  government agency, motor club, or private party then they will be responsible and accountable for footing the bill.

 

Safety costs money. Safety is an investment. Safety mitigates the risks inherent to the normal day to day procedures that one implements to complete work. A ten dollar pair of safety glasses might well prevent a sliver of metal from getting into a person's eye. The costs of a sliver of metal getting into a person's eye range from a low of 3000.00 to close to 5500.00 on average. This takes into consideration an er visit, lost work and production time, follow up visits to the doctor, as well as costs in premiums post claim. A ten dollar pair of safety glasses is an inexpensive cost of doing business.

 

I would be willing to state that the cost of roadside incidents, that are preventable costs this industry close to $100,000,000.00 a year in ems services, medical bills, lost wages and productivity. There is no monetary value that can be placed on a human life. There is no amount of money that can replace a person to their family, friends, and loved ones. This $100,000,000.00 is absorbed by the people in this industry. $100,000,000.00 will buy a vast amount of safety if and when it is mandated.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Super sad that this is happening so much.  I will say some prayers for all involved.  I feel so bad every time I hear of any fatality, or injury.  The Highway Patrol will quite often stop behind me to block traffic, and I always say THANK YOU, I Really appreciate the help.  Your lights help much more to get traffic to slow down, and move over. People just, do not respect the amber lights that road maintenance, and towing uses.  I  try to stop to block, or direct traffic if I see another tower, or motorist in a bad/dangerous situation.   Keep aware, and stay safe out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coroner Releases Name of Tow Truck Driver Struck by Big Rig in Castaic

 

A tow truck driver fatally struck by a big rig on the Golden State (5) Freeway in the Castaic area was a resident of that area, the coroner’s office said Monday.

 

Erwin Geremillo was 47 years old, the coroner’s office said. The AAA driver was hit about 8:15 p.m. Friday on the southbound side of the freeway near Vista del Lago, the California Highway Patrol said.

 

Geremillo was tending to a stopped vehicle when he was struck by a tandem big rig that did not stop, the CHP reported.

 

The incident is classified as a hit-and-run, but it is possible the big rig driver did not Geremillo had been struck, CHP Officer Stephan Brandt said.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP reported.

 

 

RESOURCE LINK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Please Sign In or Sign Up