Bridge Runner Recovery
By Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Walkers Towing & Recovery is a family owned and operated company based in Bowling Green, Ky. Lewis Walker Sr. started the company that is now owned by his son, Lewis Jr. Walkers has served Bowling Green and surrounding areas for more than 50 years.
The snow that hit the northeast in late January also hit Kentucky hard. Kentucky State Police had warned people to stay off the highways, but people were still driving in the storm, so calls were coming in non-stop.
One woman drove off the Old Louisville Road Bridge and ended up partially in the Barren River.
The Bowling Green Fire Department was called Jan. 21 at 10 p.m. about a female driver in a single-vehicle crash. She had gone off between the bridge and a barrier that was set up there and the car ended up in the water at the edge.
The Bowling Green Police Department was also dispatched to the scene, arriving ahead of the fire department. When the police arrived the woman was already out of the car.
Firefighters set up a rope rescue for the driver and prepared their boat in case a water rescue was necessary. A police spokesman said the driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Walkers was called to recover the car, which had fallen dozens of feet into the river; it laid on its side for three days until warmer temperatures allowed the crew to recover it.
Walker drove to the scene in his Peterbilt/Century 1075S 75-ton rotator along with veteran recovery operator Chris Belcher.
Walker staged the rotator to not obstruct traffic and Belcher, along with a firefighter, climbed down the steep embankment to the river and rigged the casualty.
"We used two recovery straps," Belcher said, "one front and one back, to wrap the vehicle around the undercarriage. Then hooked it to the lines of the rotator. 'Junior' was at the controls and carefully lifted it up and out of the river, then up over the bridge guardrail and set it onto the road."
After a lot of patience, the car was brought back onto the Old Louisville Road Bridge. Once they got the car back on the bridge, they set it on their Ford F-550/Jerr-Dan rollback and transported it back to their shop.
(Walkers, onlookers and Bac Totrong of the Bowling Green Daily News took the photos.)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 email@example.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!