Wrecker wrecked—warning to others to slow down


Todd Pell was thrilled at his prospects a year ago when he purchased Rockford Towing and faced a future as his own boss. Recently, he came very near to losing his life in that new business.

“I’m probably still in shock,” Pell reported, just hours from an accident scene where he lost his newest vehicle to a crash that could have killed him.

Pell had just stepped from the space between his new 2011 Ford 550 tow truck and the car he was rescuing from a ditch near Harvard Road and 18 Mile. It was barely 7:30 a.m. and he was doing his job when the tremendous sound of the collision filled the air.

“You can’t believe how loud it is,” Pell said.

An oncoming vehicle, racing along at an estimated 55 mph on the back road hit his truck head-on without any evidence that the brakes had been applied.

“He never slowed down or moved over,” Pell reported of the teenage driver who hit him and did sustain injuries.

The driver’s car hit Pell’s truck head-on, totaling it and causing it to smash into the car which Pell had seconds before been hooking up to pull from the ditch. The impact was horrific, Pell described.

“It was a close call for me,” he said. “It was five seconds or three feet and I would have been killed.”

Pell hopes the incident will remind people that tow trucks are emergency vehicles, just like ambulance and police, and drivers need to slow down and pay attention when they see them on a scene.

According to Commander Chris McIntyre of the Michigan State Police, Rockford Post, being on the road—whether from traffic stops or at accidents—is a most dangerous part of the jobs of first responders. He said when officers die in the line of duty, it is more often by being struck by careless drivers than in other situations. Pell is grateful that this close call was just that, and hopes that sharing his story will remind drivers to slow down and be careful when approaching any emergency vehicle on the road.

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