Tractor trailer hits tow truck pulling semi out of ditch during extreme weather conditions in Sask

Highway 1 was extremely icy at time of crash

A heavy wrecker tow truck pulling a semi out of a ditch in southwest Saskatchewan on Tuesday night was hit by a tractor trailer.

The highways in the area were extremely icy at the time of the accident.

Cindy Remple, owner of Low Cost Towing in Swift Current, Sask., said in a news release that at approximately 7 p.m. CST Tuesday, the tow truck was on Highway 1 west of Swift Current in the eastbound lane, hooked to the front of the semi unit via a winch. Swift Current is about 225 kilometres west of Regina.

The semi in the ditch had an air leak, so the tow truck operator was under the truck fixing the leak. That’s when a tractor trailer struck both the semi the operator was working on and the heavy wrecker tow truck, according to Remple.

She said the tractor trailer pushed the semi into the wrecker and caused extensive damage.

Meanwhile, the tractor trailer that struck the tow truck ended up in a ditch in front of the heavy wrecker and also had extensive damage.

Remple said the operator went to check on everyone involved and a witness called 911.

The operator was taken to hospital for assessment and has been released. 

Remple told CBC News over email that the operator is at home recovering with his family. Low Cost Towing said it will not release his name. 

“He is scraped up pretty good and is very sore and bruised but will recover,” said Remple in the news release.

She said that given the weather conditions on Tuesday night, all drivers should have adjusted speed.

“But it was witnessed that the semi unit that struck our wrecker was not slowing and had just previously passed other trucks,” Remple said.

There is no official confirmation that the truck had been speeding at the time. 

The driver and passenger of the semi unit that struck the tow truck were taken to hospital by ambulance with unknown injuries.

The wrecker tow truck is fully equipped with blue and amber lights that Remple said could clearly be seen from a distance. 

“The law is to slow to 60 and move over when tow trucks are present with their lights activated and helping someone on the highway. This accident is proof that people need better education and their needs to be stiffer enforcement to help all the workers on the highway,” said Remple in the press release.

“We ask that all drivers be more aware of what is on the roadway in front of them and move over to give room for tow trucks to work.… Please pray for all those involved.”

As of 10:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended on Swift Current roads due to icy and slippery sections, loose snow, snow drifts and drifting snow.