Towing companies respond to twice as many wrecks - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Towing companies respond to twice as many wrecks

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An hour ago, three men had never met. That's why Richard Woods said he loves his job.

"I helped people today who at any other time I would have never met, but I met them," said Woods, a tow truck driver who works at Charleston Auto Towing. "I helped 'em out, they go home happy, I go home feeling good."

Charleston Auto Towing responded to nearly 30 wrecks on Friday, mostly for weather-related accidents. Managers said this is twice the number of calls they receive on a normal day.

"I noticed people up here are complacent," said Woods, who works a twelve-hour shift, three to four days a week. "They have no respect for the snow, that's how they're getting in so many accidents."

After a wreck, Metro 911 dispatchers call one of six towing companies in the Charleston area. Out of fairness, the system works on a rotation.

Then, a towing operator locates the crash and directs a driver where to go.

Woods found Alex Payno in Dunbar. His truck slipped down a hill off Route 25 on Friday afternoon. Payno was driving a semi from Ohio to Memphis, picking up an order in Dunbar. It was his first time driving through West Virginia or snow.

"Where I'm from in California, we don't get snow," Payno said. "I've learned a lot about driving way below the speed limit when it's snowing.

But before Woods could even assess the damage on the semi, he stumbled upon another vehicle stuck on the same hill.

"I came up this hill twice today and didn't think it would happen," said the driver of a minivan.

But through teamwork, the minivan driver, Payno, and Woods pushed the car up the hill.

Then Woods called in a coworker to help drag the chain from the towing vehicle to the semi. And finally, the truck inched its way up the hill.

"After three hours of getting stuck out here, believe me I'm glad to get out of this situation," Payno said.

"We are probably the best person you'll ever meet," Woods said. "We're the person you're most happiest to see out there."