Moultrie Observer

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August 30, 2008

New wrecker to help at major crash scenes

MOULTRIE — A big job calls for big tools, and now Cox Truck and Van has one of the biggest tools of its kind: a rotary wrecker.

Weighing 58,000 pounds fully equipped, the wrecker can lift 60 tons, according to Joey Cox, co-owner of CTV. Its primary job is to lift tractor-trailer trucks that have crashed, but Cox said it can assist on smaller wrecks, too.

So far, it’s pulled a garbage truck and two bucket trucks out of ditches.

“We ain’t had it but a week,” Cox explained.

Cox said CTV responds to an average of one bad accident a week and one “serious, serious accident” a month.

“A big tractor-trailer flipping over doesn’t happen every day,” he said, but added that there were three in the last month in CTV’s operations area of Worth, Brooks and Colquitt counties.

Most semi-truck accidents involve the truck going into a ditch or the driver turning too sharply and losing his load, he said.

Cox — who owns CTV with his father, Randy Cox, and brother, Jason Cox — said the wrecker is one-of-a-kind in South Georgia. There’s a similar but smaller one in McRae, he said.

“The only one like ours is in Atlanta. There’s three in Atlanta. The next one’s in Ocala, Fla.,” he said.

The wrecker has a 38-foot-long, three-stage boom that can rotate 360 degrees, Cox said, so it could swing to the side and lift a car from a ditch without getting off the road. Depending on the circumstances, it might block only one lane of traffic. The truck has two 60,000-pound winches and one 35,000-pound winch. All functions are remote-control, he said.

Outriggers spread to 17 feet for stability — and stability is one of the real advantages the truck brings to a wreck scene. Cox described how the wrecker could help in a vehicle extraction. The winches could pull the car up and secure it so firefighters can cut trapped victims free, even getting beneath the car safely.

Currently, Cox wrecker operators train with area rescue personnel once a year. Now, Cox said, they hope to increase that to two or three times a year to show firefighters, police and EMTs how their new equipment can clear the scene more quickly and safely than ever before.

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