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Tower Down - 11.29.19 (FL)

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FHP releases more details on fatal Florida Turnpike crash in Osceola County

 

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A crash on the Florida Turnpike has killed at least one person according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

 

The crash near St. Cloud occurred after 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, shutting down southbound lanes. According to a tweet from Spectrum News 13, the crash involved multiple vehicles, including a semi and a tow truck.

 

No other details are available at this time.

 

ST. CLOUD, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is investigating after one person was killed in a crash Friday morning.

According to FHP, the crash happened at mile marker 226 in St. Cloud just after 10:30 a.m.

 

"The crash involves a semi-truck and a tow truck that was towing a vehicle," FHP said in an email to FOX 35 News.

One person has been confirmed dead. FHP said no one else was injured.  

 

Orlando Tow Truck Driver Killed in Florida Turnpike Crash

 

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An Orlando tow truck driver was killed early Friday in a crash involving a semitrailer that closed southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike for hours.

 

The name of the 48-year-old victim was not immediately released.

 

Both vehicles were heading south before the crash at 10:30 a.m. at Mike Marker 226.

 

The tow-truck driver was hauling a vehicle in the left lane when his vehicle traveled into the right lane, hitting the left side of a trailer hauled by the semi, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

 

The tow-truck driver traveled back to the left lane, then left the roadway and struck a tree, FHP said.

The other driver, German Salgado, 56, of St. Cloud, was not hurt.

 

His 2005 semitrailer was hauling two trailers. The crash remains under investigation.

 

RESOURCE LINK

 

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This operator worked with us in the past. He was a great operator and was taking care of his mom when not at work. His family really needs prayers at this time.

Edited by CarStoreTowing

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Rest in Peace C.M. We will drag your chains from here. Sending my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers. (I am not using names out of respect for all involved). Prayers for all involved. 

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I tell ya' Ron ...  that count board is bad Ju Ju. This is really tragic and another count that puts the year close to 60-. Christine and I send our prayers to the tower's family and the company the tower worked for.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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Our Thoughts are with the family left to grieve. Towing is an extended family and we grieve for All Tow Operators who Lose their lives will out their on the dangerous roadways of today. RIP

 

Randall the Count raises the awareness of the dangers Tow Operators Face and a constant reminder to those watching it of those dangers.

 

As Bad As That Is; I say Keep It Up. What if raising the awareness saves one TowForce Members Life? Rare It Is, to hear of a message board member being struck and killed. Though there have been a few in the days of the old Tow411 board.

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Randall, Moose is right the awareness outweighs any ju ju that may exist. I will take it down for a few months if you think that it's bad Mo Jo, but if we happen to lose a member during that time, what would be the thought there? Many of us take that risk quite often and never speak a word of how close the call was... Our families do not want to hear it and certainly do not want to get that call.

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Hi Guys ... I wholeheartedly admit that Mr. Moose and you Ron are correct in why the Tower Down board is there. I guess I should stop whining about the count as I know that the intent of the Tower Down Board is honorable and there to serve a purpose ... don't take it down for me as I'm simply one opinion. But, as noted. if it helps to save one individual, its purpose has been served for the better. Perhaps my comments about bad Ju Ju is my personal recognition out of sheer frustration where the same old mistakes are being made over and over and over. Accordingly, February, May, June, and August 2019, accounted for six towers killed in each month, and for October and November 2019, seven towers were killed. As a matter of the industry acclaiming that, "six towers are killed each month", what's that say about an industry that can't or doesn't recognize the reason or causes tow operators keep getting killed at an alarming rate? And, from my fatality numbers, as many as eleven tow operators were killed in industrial accidents this year; three of them in June alone. As many as twenty-towers were killed in driving related accident and incidents. That's the highest number of industrial accidents and driving accidents that I've ever counted for a single year. 

 

Sadly, it's my personal realization that SDMO laws, TIM training, the nationwide Spirit Ride, and readily available formal training hasn't impressed the nation's towers about the dangers of the work we do. Towers are still making the same old mistakes and they're still blaming motorists for failing to slow down and move over. Until this industry makes a stronger commitment toward  changing it's culture to one that instills operator survival, the Tower Down board will remain a turnstile of numbers. That being said, at the current average of tower's killed, my archives will soon surpass one-thousand operator fatalities recorded within the next year at the rate things are going. I humbly retract my suggestion to take the Tow Down board off the site. I'm a realist to know that towers (regardless of age and experience) NEED constant reminders on just how dangerous the job is. What boggles me is, if TowForce has 4,000 members, what about all those other towers out there who aren't getting the message? Perhaps the New Year will bring a better mindset ... I don't know.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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Randall, more than half the tow operators get little or no information. Even those who are on Facebook which is still less than half the industry and few than 20% on a regular basis. Combine that with half the tow company owners that offer little or no training along with either safety meetings or no regular safety meetings. Then your understanding of why they lack this important knowledge that reinforces good safety habits exist. And Yes what we think of as proper procedures for a safe work zone are habits to the workforce in the towing industry. It should become habit for every driver which is not properly uniformed to put the safety vest on, I encourage the use of a wearable warning devise such as the Guardian Angel. From my experience and I have two of them, they are beneficial and well worth the cost. I wear one on my belt and when a situation deems, I wear the second on my shoulder. I only have two because there was a great deal on the second one at the Vegas Show this Year and I wanted the new belt clip they wear offering. You can buy the junk ones cheap, but you get what you pay for when you buy the Guardian Angel the thing is not Junk.

 

Many of us can relate to the feeling of being a matador staring down a rushing bull. Only the bull is a moving vehicle and there is no cape. You must decide at what point to move or jump out of the way. Disbelief generally shows that judgement, as you stare at the oncoming vehicle passing the police vehicle and headed in your direction. Do you make some type of motion at that motorist or do you move quickly. You've done everything right and still you life is on the line. Myself, I have given much thought to this and in most situations when I have a blocker. I would rather be out there and see the danger coming then be on the apposite side of the truck and not see or know it is coming till the truck is pushed into me. So, while I certainly can under and even endorse working the side of the truck away from the roadway. Each situation may be different. I suggest becoming comfortable using controls on both sides that is why they are there. Sadly we know December is a Bad month is this industry for the number of Towers Down.

 

Randall over the years, what have been the top 3 months of the year tow truck operators have been killed roadside. If you have any statistics which include tow operators injured could you include those. This is something I should have been doing over the past 20 years. I never could bring myself to do it and even sending out Tow Down Notifications takes something out of or does something to me.  I would stop that if I did not believe it is important to get the word out in respect for our fallen.

 

Back to reaching a segment of the industry that we have not reached with all the industry relations mentioned. I do not know what more to do other than just keep trying. The more we talk about it the more opportunities there are to bring others into the conversation which will spread the word.

 

More Suggestions are always welcome as this Network of Towers continues to grow. A year form now the membership will be doubled and the posts will be even more active then it ever has been. Thanks for keeping the conversation alive!

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My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. This is happening way too often. One thing that has to factor into it is the fact that we our job requires us to be out on the roadways, amongst all the crazy drivers. Again I’m blessed to work in the rural area where the amount of traffic I see in a day, the city towers see in 30 minutes. More traffic equals greater risk. Keep safe out there. 

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Great reply Ron. I don't have numbers regarding, "injured only", incident for the very fact that I already have a full-time job. While the causes of injured versus fatality are hand in hand, the causes are the same, only the outcome is different. I like your mention of the Guardian Angel wearable lights, but you mention cost being a factor. When you think about the cost of safety items, most towers can't afford a $100 safety item for a world of reasons. Cost isn't a factor for the military or law enforcement because accessories, equipment and Gucci-Gear is federally funded. Perhaps if there was federal funding for highway tow operators, we too could have those safety items. Is there a way the TRAA could apply for grant funds through the Office of Traffic Safety or the like to make these items available for towers? Affordability is one thing, and then wear-ability is something again. I think that complacency and too much macho doesn't need these extra means of safety in the same manner many towers think, "it won't happen to me." So, that takes me to your bull/matador analogy. In all due respect to your theory Ron ... I know you, you're a big guy like me. It's my belief that neither of us are capable of jumping out of the way of a speeding vehicle traveling 75-miles per hour and at a distance of 110-feet per second. No matter how fast towers claim they can be, when they're focused on their work and oblivious to the white-line, they've place themselves at extreme risk.     R.   


Randall C. Resch

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Our thoughts and prayers go out.

I do believe that this board has made a difference, at least to me. I do a lot of things differently out on the road because of what I have seen and learned here. I hope that some will see what can be done to increase safety and add to the daily routine. When I started doing this 30 some years ago traffic was not near as fast or as heavy.


George - - Moore's BP
We'll see you on down the road

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Couldnt agree more with George. This forum has been a very valuable asset to me. I have learned a lot. Even being in this industry my whole life and doing it professionally for 24 years now I dont know everything and will never claim as such. every day is a learning experience and there is mountains of valuable information from plenty of highly trained and educated operators on this site. And as far as the tower down posts and count, although tragic and painful to see it , it does make me think my motions through and be much more mindful of my surroundings. This is a dangerous profession and the possibility of leaving for a call and not coming home is a reality for each of us on here. as corny as it may sound, there is plenty of information on here that may one day save your life or the life of your customers. i suggest this site to all my local friends in the towing / recovery business, especially the green guys. Things in this industry need to change, thats for certain. but having the knowledge and experience contained on this site is useful.


There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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I too have learned a hell of a lot through the board over the years....having been in this business all of my working life .....57 years and  counting...

It continues to educate me every day ......you  NEVER  stop learning in this business  !!! 

The last thing I want to do.... is cause upset to the bereaved families , co workers  or friends... but we do need to focus on the circumstances around these tragedies...

I too have a feeling of despair every time I read of another fatality or serious injury ....but I do think the tower down count  should be kept in place ...

I too have had a member of staff  killed....... and several  with serious injuries including one of my sons...and it is totally devastating......

I totally agree with the others....  complacency is a major contributory factor..... however...other  reasons include....little or no training..... lack of personal protection equipment  ( PPE )  poor quality equipment ....incorrect use of safety equipment ...lack of investment by some employers ....

I am not losing sight that there are many tragic circumstances that are absolutely no fault of the operative or any of the above and my heart goes out to every one of them .

In the UK and Europe...we have the same problems.....despite constant campaigning for tougher regulations on issues such as...Slow Down , Move Over .as yet,  no legislation is in place ..... many operators are working hard to improve training programmes,   increase PPE .....provide fend off vehicles / crash cushions ...raise public awareness....increased safety features on vehicles .....

However ...all the time it  is possible to buy a cheap tow truck on Ebay and without any training or proper insurance ... go to work the next day calling themselves recovery operators and no legislation to prevent it ...the carnage will continue ...

 

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the tower....his family .....friends and co workers....from your fellow towers in the UK ...

 

..the pictures show the SUV on the towtruck  was correctly  secured...  the tow truck has taken a massive  impact  and all of the straps appear to have held...

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While I don't know what caused the crash, I'm wondering if crossing center was due to a medical emergency and not that of distracted driving? Are there any updates?    R.

Edited by rreschran
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Randall C. Resch

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This crash and the resulting loss of life is sad as well as frustrating. I will reserve most of my comments until a formal cause is released. From what I can see, this may have been the result of a medical emergency or distracted driving.

 

As cold as it sounds, I am hoping for a medical emergency as that is truly an accident.

 

Distracted driving is a choice, same as working the traffic side or not using proper safety gear. Until this industry truly recognizes that we are responsible for our own actions and that no law or different color light is going to keep us safe we will continue to get hurt and killed at an alarming rate. How many of us have run calls while under the weather (ill) or tired? Both are violations of federal regulations, yet we don't think twice about it because the job must be done, yet both ill or fatigued can lead to serious distractions or prolonged periods of inattentiveness resulting in a crash.

 

Again, none of my comments are specific to this crash, although it does give a sounding board to repeat what I have taught for years. I believe my thoughts and opinion on the loss of life towers face daily are in line with the other posters on this thread, especially Randy. I know he and I see eye to eye on this matter, we have discussed it at length many times.

 

As a trainer I am frustrated beyond comprehension with the lack of towers that seek out training that can save their lives. Very few seek out training voluntarily, usually training is only sough because a state or local regulation or contract makes it a requirement. This is a sad statement about the mindset of the average tower, and down right infuriates me that the average tow owner does not care enough about their business or employees to invest in basic training that can save their lives!

 

Most of the industry training is focused on recovery operations, often special operations that only a fraction of towers will ever deal with. While I understand the principles do transfer to other, more routine jobs that towers do daily, most of the training does not include "front of the truck" operations and habits that keep us safe in our job. A prime example is the defensive driving course I offer. Although it is well attended when I present it at tow shows, I have only had one tow boss in two years ask about me bringing the presentation to his drivers, and it never happened. I firmly believe that training courses on how to be a better driver will go a long way in preventing the injury and loss of life we see from simple motor vehicle crashes where the tower was driving, not while stationary.

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Brian, I agree these comments in this topic should not be taken as disrespectful to the loss of this tow operators life. I look at it more as we are making these comments as we patiently await the release of the information. Once that Info have been made public another topic will begin for proper condolences to the Family, Friends & Co-workers.

 

We view any loss of a Tow Operators life as tragic regardless of the situation. One year we hope that not one name will be added to the Wall of the Fallen. All the while knowing that will never happen as we gather in Chattanooga, Tn to pay tribute to many of those who do what we do. Knowing that any year our name could be one of those and our family could be one of the grieving. Many of us grieve with them on that day, as we fight back the emotions. For those that have not experienced the ceremony I encourage you to make plans to attend in the future. God Bless!

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