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Quick action by tow company likely prevented worse injuries in rollover
Quick action by tow company likely prevented worse injuries in rollover

Joe Rothmund from Rothmund's Towing helps get a rolled-over pickup upright.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Aug. 1, 2009) — Last weekend’s series of three personal injury crashes on Saturday, two on Sunday, and two on Monday doesn’t even count the many wrecks around the county that damaged vehicles but didn’t hurt people.

One rollover wreck in front of Big Louie’s at the edge of St. Robert on Saturday night received wide attention because of its highly visible location, a tractor-trailer crash about 11 a.m. Saturday on westbound Interstate 44 at mile marker 169.2 just across the Phelps County line snarled traffic for about two hours, and other crashes also took up considerable time by emergency responders.

While working at a late-night Monday rollover wreck, Lt. Mike Shempert of the Waynesville Rural Fire Protection District said he doesn’t know why so many crashes happened that weekend, but does know it’s important for drivers to be more careful.

“Pay attention to the road; that’s about it,” Shempert said.

While no one likes dealing with injuries, Waynesville firefighter Dan Kallman said he doesn’t mind hard work and many calls, and said he finds his job exciting.

“It’s an adventure every day when you go to work,” Kallman said.

The victims of Monday’s rollover were lucky in one way: a tow company was right behind the crashed vehicle shortly after it wrecked.

Billy Stealy of Rothmund’s Towing said he was on the way to Wal-Mart when he came up to the pickup near a MoDOT overnight construction work zone.

“We were coming down the on-ramp and spotted headlights and thought it was part of the construction. Well, we stopped and … looked and it was a pickup on its side there,” Stealy said.

Rothmund’s Towing personnel hooked their tow cable onto the pickup to prevent it from completely rolling over and called emergency services to report the crash, subsequently removing the vehicle as well.

Shempert said that action likely prevented the crash from being much more serious. The pickup had two passengers besides the driver and one person was trapped inside the pickup when firefighters arrived, he said. That person had to be extricated by cutting the top off the pickup cab, and would have been pinned underneath the vehicle if it had rolled over completely.

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