Around 100 tow truck drivers from companies around the region came together Wednesday evening to honor Colin Schaefer, a tow truck driver from Lake Winola who died after an accident last Friday.
Schaefer died from a blunt force injury while on the job when a vehicle struck a cable attached to his tow truck on Whites Ferry Road in Overfield Township, Wyoming County.
The tow trucks, displaying company logos from Tunkhannock, Scott Township, Scranton, Stroudsburg, Wilkes-Barre and beyond, lined up and rode together for close to a mile down Tioga Street to Triton Hose Company, where several hundred people gathered for a time of reflection.
Ace Robbins’ Abe Kukuchka said Schaefer’s employer, VPR Motors of Wilkes-Barre, reached out about setting up a place to start the ride, and he didn’t even need to think about saying yes.
“I think anybody’s response would have been ‘yes, let’s do it.’ It’s an accident. Unfortunately they happen. We have no control over them,” Kukuchka said. “The number of trucks here shows that we all care about each other when we’re on the road no matter who we are.”
While Kukuchka did not know Schaefer personally, his co-worker was good friends with him.
“When he got the phone call, it was emotional for all of us, not just for him,” he said.
Randy Gyle, owner of RJ’s Towing in Sugarnotch, came out to show respect for Schaefer.
“We all do the same job. Competitors, but we’re family,” he added.
Gyle wasn’t surprised to see so many people take time out of their day to join in on the ride and attend the memorial service.
“It hits close to home. I have a son his age who does this work too,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it to be one of my drivers.”
Ron Zymblosky of Boots and Hanks Towing in Scranton said towing is a dangerous business, and this isn’t the first accident he’s heard about with a tow truck driver.
“People just don’t realize you have to slow down and move over when you see an emergency vehicle,” he said.