A tow truck driver who narrowly escaped being killed by a semi truck last week wants the provincial government to push forward legislation that would allow tow trucks to use flashing blue lights.
Trevor Snyder, general manager of Snyder Enterprises of Beiseker, said he was just a few feet away from his truck before it was struck by the semi truck hauling two trailers at about 11 p.m. on Jan. 22.
“My tow truck went airborne. My tow truck weighs about 17,500 pounds. I’ve never imagined in my life it would fly through the air. It was like something you’d see in a movie,” said Snyder.
His tow truck was stopped on the shoulder on Highway 2, south of Highway 42 near Penhold, to help stranded motorists with a flat tire.
Snyder said he had just got his tuque out of the cab of his truck and was walking around the front of his vehicle when he saw the semi heading in his direction at highway speed.
“I didn’t hear any signs of gearing down or breaking. He was going full tilt right towards me,” said Snyder, who has also driven semi trucks hauling two trailers.
“I thought this was not good. I’ve never in my life, when I was on the road, gone full speed when there was someone on the shoulder like that. You always go into the opposite lane and slow down. That’s a courtesy. That’s standard practice.”
He said all he could do was run.
The semi truck crashed and rolled down the highway. The driver was unable to get out of the vehicle, which caught fire. The 62-year-old driver was declared dead at the scene.
Snyder said one of the safety procedures for tow truck drivers is to move customers into the cab of the tow truck.
Thankfully, his customers that night had not yet gotten out of their own vehicle. If they had, “that would have been it.”
The tow truck crash on its roof.
“I’m very used to close calls, but stuff like this is just devastating.
“From what I gather, I was number three in 24 hours in Alberta. There were two trucks in Edmonton hit prior. One is too many.”
He said his yellow beacon light was flashing at the time of the collision, and maybe blue lights would be more visible and demand more attention.
“People don’t slow down for amber.”