Tanker & log truck collide on ‘Highway Thru Hell’

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Colin McLean (“Highway Thru Hell” photo)

“Highway Thru Hell” lived up to its name Sunday night in a big way.

In the most recent episode of the Weather Channel’s reality show, drivers from the Jamie Davis Towing service dealt with a hellacious wreck on Highway 881 in Alberta. A tanker loaded with gasoline collided with a truck carrying logs, and a massive fire ensued. Both drivers survived and were airlifted from the scene, but the driver of a pickup that slammed into the logging truck died.

For Colin McLean, it was the biggest job he’s had to take on as Davis’ lead man in Alberta.

“This is one of the worst wrecks I’ve worked on in 15 years of towing,” said McLean.

His boss hoped he was up to it.

“I need him to be the guy he can be,” said Davis.

It took six hours of police investigation before McLean and others from Jamie Davis Towing could get to work. They had to move logs and even place parts of the three vehicles in the wreck on flatdeck trucks to be carted off.

What was left of the logging truck was lifted by two Davis wreckers and placed on a lowboy.
Then came the trickier and risker part: removing the tanker, which was sitting on ground soaked with 6,500 liters of gasoline that had spilled.

  1. McLean and his crew had to work fast, but cautiously as a spark from the shredded metal of the truck could cause yet another dangerous blaze. To make matters worse:
    The team had to work around the spilled gasoline, inhaling the fumes. They took breaks to stay safe.
  2. The wheel assemblies were falling off the chassis and had to be chained onto the frame. This was done – ill advisedly so – by guys crawling under the truck, which was suspended by the two wreckers.

Finally, at 4 a.m. the tanker was settled onto a lowboy and the road finally reopened.

The episode concluded with Jamie saying Colin had evolved into a lead guy for the company.

In the other half of the episode, a sudden and violent snowstorm snarled traffic on the Coquihalla Highway near Hope, British Columbia.

New driver John Rogers had to get the cab back firmly on a truck that had wrecked before it could be towed.

“I have to prove myself right now,” Rogers said.

Eventually, he did by improvising an airline from his truck to the wreck to release the brakes.

Meet Colin McLean