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California towman comes to rescue of trooper under attack
Extra-thick low-clearance roadside mat is 2' wide by 4' long
Delinquency on payments highest since 2010
Man of Steel graphics are a company’s moving billboard
Some 32,000-pounds of peanuts makes a mess
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Bagged Peanuts in Ohio

0 caa9dby Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Erik Stearns is the owner and president of Stearns Cos. in Findlay, Ohio, that include Dick's Auto Salvage, Dick's Towing Services, Keebler's Towing Services and Ed's 24-Hour Service.

On March 6, 2016, they were called by the Ohio State Highway Patrol to recover a tractor-trailer that had rolled over.

"This was the second major truck accident of that day," Stearns said. "This one was loaded with 32,000-pounds of peanuts."

Stearns took his son Carson with him and responded in his 2012 Peterbilt with a Century 1075 75-ton rotator.

Ed's also dispatched operators Adam Still, Andy Saum, Adam Settlemire, Nick Frena, Mike Pendergast and Chris Sawinski. They responded with a 1990 Peterbilt/Century 1050 50-ton, 2015 Ford F-650 rollback hauling a S750 Bobcat with a sweeper and a 2015 Chevy 3500 service truck pulling their airbag trailer.

"The truck and trailer were both owned by an owner-operator and he was on-scene when we arrived," Stearns said. "He was adamant about paying the bill and driving it away to make his delivery on time."

After assessing the scene, the decision was made to recover the units from a parallel access road because the accident had occurred in a very narrow two-lane construction zone. Ed's team choose to use airbags along with the wreckers to insure a no-damage recovery since both the truck and trailer were old and very worn-out.

"In the downtime to get the bags on-scene," Stearns said, "we prepped the truck for towing and rigged the 1075 rotator for the lift, using round slings in the WreckMaster method of across the ends and around the corners."

The team started the lift with the starter bags. Once the starter bags were all under the trailer and fully inflated, they replaced the starter bags with lifting bags. The units were lifted with the bags and rotator as far as possible; but given the fact the left side of the units had landed on the ditch, they could not fully upright the units.

The ditch was very muddy and the units were mired. A line from the Century 1075 rotator was rigged to the right-hand dolly leg to get some lift as the Century 1050 winched the units to the access road. The 1050 then towed the truck and trailer as a combination to Ed's shop.

"Surprisingly, the driver could not cover the recovery bill that night, but about a week later the insurance company did; and with some shady repairs performed by the driver he drove it away," Stearns laughed.

(Note: This article originally appeared in the May 31, 2017 edition of Tow Industry Week)

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com ; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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