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Snowy weather keeping Helena tow companies busy

Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 20:37:22-05

HELENA – Local towing companies say they have been busy this winter from slide-offs, collisions and tows related to Helena’s snow routes.

MTN spoke with five Helena area towing companies on Tuesday. Each company said their crews were pretty much working nonstop helping stuck vehicles over the last two days.

“We went all night last night,” said Teddy Culbertson, owner of Top Gun Recovery. “The biggest thing we can say is just for people to be safe. Plan ahead and take it slow if you can. It’s just as dangerous and slick to navigate these accidents as well.”

Most of the calls trucks responded to were slide-offs or people just getting stuck in snow that was too deep.

Sierra Collins with A-1 Towing asks the public to slow down and give recovery vehicles space when they see the flashing lights.

People should only leave their vehicle if they absolutely must and be prepared to wait while a tow truck is dispatched.

“Make sure you have warm clothes, adequate amount of fuel, blankets, a good shovel and a candle to melt snow if need be” said Collin.

Tow companies often need to prioritize the calls they receive depending on risk to the person stuck, hazard to other drivers on the road and age or health of the person in distress.

This year a small portion of the calls have included city requests to remove cars from snow emergency routes.

Helena implemented new snow routes for the 2018-2019 winter season that includes towing of vehicles on emergency snow routes.

According to city records, Helena has had a total of 54 vehicles towed from snow routes between January 25th and February 20th of 2019. As of writing this story the city has not updated its “Where’s My Car” website to reflect tow numbers from this latest storm.

MTN reached out to Helena City Manager Ana Cortez for the most recent numbers and for an update on the city’s efforts to clear the snow but we did not get a response by the time of writing this article.

Tow drivers did want to remind residents that they are not driving around looking for cars to tow. They will only tow a vehicle from a snow route after a request from the city.

“It’s not that we’re trying to make money off of them,” said Gregory Branson with Kolar Tire, “We were asked to do an emergency service and the main thing is to keep everyone safe. If vehicles are blocked out in the middle of the road, they can’t plow around them and your road distance goes from two lengths to one length. Then when you have a semi and car trying to pass you have the potential for causing a lot more accidents.”

Culbertson echoed the sentiment adding that at the end of the day we’re all each other’s neighbors.

“Every tow company in the area I know has good business ethics and are just trying to do the right thing,” said Culbertson. “We’re in the business of helping people out.”

Owner of Summit Towing and Recovery Steve Pierce said his guys will almost always pull someone from out of a ditch if they see them.

“We try not to leave people hanging,” said Pierce, “No reason to make money off a simple slide-off that takes us a few minutes work.“