Texas Hill Country Recovery
by Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Gustavo "Tavo" Jimenez III is the owner of Tavo's Automotive in Crystal City, Texas. His father, Gustavo Jimenez Jr., established Tavo's Automotive in 1974 as a repair shop with towing services. In 2007, Tavo took over operations and began concentrating on towing to include heavy-duty towing and recovery work.
At 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2016, Tavo's received a call by a local gravel company to recover a dump truck.
"It was a 2004 Mack tri-axle dump truck that rolled over north of Uvalde, Texas, on County Road 405, approximately 53 miles away from our shop," Tavo said.
Tavo's dispatched two of their Century heavy recovery units. Operator Jesus Mata was in Unit 227, a 2007 International/Century 9055 50-ton and operator Rene Jimenez was in Unit 307, a 2007 Peterbilt/Century 9055 50-ton. Jimenez was on scene as safety supervisor for their emergency response team, which included heavy-duty riggers Gilbert Lopez and Gus Saucedo.
Tavo's team arrived on the hill country ranch road at 3 p.m. and waited for an escort to the recovery location that arrived 45 minutes later.
"The gravel company dump truck loaded with dirt and gravel, was traveling off road down a hill country, narrow, steep, winding ranch road and slipped off the road," Tavo said. "The dump was found on its passenger side 25-feet down an embankment with a 30-degree decline."
Tavo's team analyzed the scene and got their heavies in position and rigged the dump truck so they could first roll it back onto its wheels.
"Unit 227 was used to winch on the steering axle and Unit 307 was used to winch on the bed of the dump truck. It was rolled onto its wheels at 4:45 p.m.," Tavo said.
At 5 p.m., Tavo's team rigged up to start winching the dump out of the embankment. Unit 227 was used to winch the dump forward and Unit 307 was used to keep the truck from rolling further down the embankment.
"As the dump was winched closer to the ranch road, Unit 227 moved further down the ranch road, allowing Unit 307 to go down the ranch road to make a turn around—Unit 227 then reversed up hill. Now with units facing in the opposite direction, they positioned to complete the dump truck recovery onto the road," Tavo said.
Tavo's team proceeded by winching the front end of the dump onto the asphalt with Unit 227 and used Unit 307 to slingshot the rear of the dump onto the ranch road.
The dump truck was towed by Unit 227, and headed back down the ranch road to make a turn around. Tavo's team then headed out of the recovery location.
"Before getting on Texas Highway 55, our team checked for any loose or broken items on the dump truck," Tavo said. "Once secured, we proceeded to the gravel company yard in Crystal City arriving at 9:10 p.m. Our units were back in service at 9:30 p.m."Show Yours @ TIWDo you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at firstname.lastname@example.org; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!