By HEATHER RUPPE
Firefighter-paramedics with Colleton County Fire-Rescue say a tow-truck driver is “lucky to be alive” after his tow truck was struck by a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 on Friday, Oct. 15th. The crash occurred near the 45-mile marker in the southbound lane.
According to Barry McRoy, director of Colleton County Fire-Rescue, the unidentified tow-truck driver was called to the scene along I-95 to remove a disabled motorhome: the owners of that motorhome were a family of three, which included an infant child. The family was not on scene when the crash occurred.
McRoy said the tow-truck driver was hooking up the disabled motorhome to his wrecker when a southbound tractor trailer entered the breakdown lane and struck the motorhome. The wrecker was also struck. “The motorhome overturned and was pushed into the woods off of the right shoulder,” said McRoy. “The tractor trailer and the wrecker were pushed into the wooded median … the wrecker received heavy damage. The interstate was littered with debris which blocked both southbound lanes.”
The tow-truck driver saw the tractor trailer coming into the breakdown lane and was able to dive into the passenger side of the vehicle. “This spared his life,” said McRoy.
According to McRoy, the driver’s side of the cab was crushed. The tow truck operator received multiple, but non-life-threatening, injuries.
“The tractor trailer driver was not injured and stated that he fell asleep,” said McRoy.
Rescue personnel on scene worked to clean up fuel and propane that were leaking from the tractor trailer and from the motorhome.
Local crews also worked for more than five hours to clean the debris from the roadway. “Several tow companies responded to clean up the accident site, which took several hours,” he said.
The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.