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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019

Semi Mowed in Martin

0 9c0f8By Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Pearce Truck & Auto is a family owned and operated repair and towing business based in Martin, Tennessee. Eddie Pearce, who died in 2016, started the company in 1965. His wife and sons Joe and Michael operate the business today.

On Feb. 15, Pearce was called to recover a loaded semi.

"My work day started just minutes after my alarm went off that morning," Joe said. "We were dispatched by the [Tennessee Highway Patrol] at about 4:30 a.m. for a semi rollover on U.S. Highway 45 North at Highway 43, north of Martin. The driver was transported by ambulance to the emergency room here with non-life threatening injuries. We were informed right away that the semi was loaded and came to rest approximately 60 feet from the road edge."

Joe responded with his 2004 Challenger 9909 70-ton rotator mounted on a 2004 Peterbilt 378 sleeper, while Michael responded his 1990 Freightliner 40-ton NRC Slider.

When they arrived it was still dark. They found the semi overturned and on its side with its lights still on. It had slid down the embankment where it slammed into the ditch. The trailer was loaded with 376 boxes of push mowers en route to Illinois.

After observing the upper rail, lower rail, wall and roof had heavy damages and had begun to unzip, the brothers decided to winch the truck on its side back to the shoulder of the highway. Using the rotator and the slider, they slid the unit to the emergency lane so that it could be unloaded. The truck and trailer sustained heavy structural damages and had to be unloaded before uprighting.

"Air bags were out of the question due to slippery mud on the slope and the jagged edges of the metal, as well as the load resting in the roof due to the angle," Joe said. "We decided to call our lumper crew and had a team of eight there in a few minutes to offload onto the trailer behind our road tractor."

Once it was unloaded, they utilized a one-lane roll method to upright the unit with no trouble.

"The rotator was hooked to straps that we placed under the trailer previously," Joe said, "as well as the rear frame of the trailer to catch it. The slider was hooked to a wheel bone kit in the right front wheel in order to pitch the truck over. Travis Sturkie was assisting us in the recovery."

After unloading the trailer, it was uprighted and the truck, trailer and load were towed back to Pearce's impound lot.

"Special thanks to the THP and TDOT for helping to keep us in a safe work area," Joe said. "We also want to thank the unload crew, as well as Travis Sturkie, for all they did to get the job done."

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