Overcooked & Rolled Over
By Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Big Wheel Towing & Recovery has been located in East Freetown, Mass., for more than 30 years. From its humble beginnings it has grown to be one of the largest towing and recovery companies in New England.
On July 4, 2014, they received a call to recover a burnt Isuzu Rodeo that had rolled over a guardrail.
"We received a call from the Mass State Police to respond immediately to Route 24S just prior to Exit 10 for a serious motor vehicle accident involving an SUV that had just veered off the roadway, struck the end of the steel guardrail system, and rolled over several times," said Eric Fouquette. "Upon impact, the vehicle had burst into flames and wound up on its side behind the guardrail into the woods. Fire and rescue personnel were able to remove the driver and transport her to the hospital as well as put out the fire before it engulfed the entire surrounding wooded area."
Operator Kevin Whittle, the first crew member on the scene, realized the severity of the accident as Fouquette was dispatched to the scene in one of Big Wheel's Century 60-ton rotators to perform the recovery on the rolled-over, burnt vehicle.
"Once on-scene, I setup the Century 60-ton rotator off to the shoulder of the roadway so that it was not impeding traffic any further and so that the recovery could be performed as quickly and safely as possible during the busy weekend seeing as it was the fourth of July," Fouquette said.
While Fouquette was staging the rotator, Whittle began installing heavy-duty lifting straps to the casualty vehicle. After all of the necessary rigging was installed, Fouquette, at the controls of the 60-ton, rolled the vehicle back to its wheels. Whittle then reinstalled the lifting straps so that the vehicle could be lifted straight up and over the steel guardrail system.
Fouquette lifted the burnt SUV straight up and rotated it up and over the guardrail and lowered it down to the roadway on its wheels at the request of the police.
"Normally we would lift it over the rail and place it right on our carrier for transport," Fouquette explained, "but the police wanted to look at it first so we set it down on the road."
When the police were done, all of the miscellaneous vehicle parts and debris were placed within the vehicle. They rigged it again and lifted it onto their 22' LCG Chevron bed and it was transported to their Freetown storage facility.
"This wasn't the biggest or most difficult job we've ever handled, but it was just as important and necessary due to the nature of the accident. Always remember, no job is complete until you have done the cleanup," Fouquette said.
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