Tow trucks can't keep up with stranded demand

By Erica Quednau |

Published 01/07 2014 04:57PM

Updated 01/08 2014 08:54AM

CHAMPAIGN -- As clean up from the winter storm continues around Central Illinois, the focus is shifting from snow to cars. Smith's Towing is almost 50 cars behind. Many from Sunday night, were just being taken care of Tuesday. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out what's causing the delays.

A lot of factors are involved, but all relate to the weather. There was a 24-hour no-tow order during the storm. Now that drivers are allowed back on the road, it's slowing trucks, bodies and timing altogether.

"It's been rough, I'll tell you that."

Brian Moore is talking about the past 36 hours; most of which he was on the clock for.

"I've been on my shift since, yeah, about the peak of the storm. I don't think I've done this many calls in a row, ever."

Calls started coming in Sunday night.

"Usually, we've got 25 - 45 minute eta's. When the storm first hit, we had eta's all the way up to ten hours."

Tuesday, they finally caught up, but still had a lot to do.

"As of right now, we're about 46 calls in the hole. I've talked to guys who've been doing this ten years and they say this is probably the worst they've seen it; especially working in these extreme temperatures."

Temperatures which continue to slow them down.

"That's why we're extra cautious, when it's slick like this, especially with someone's car on the back."

"We understand that it's unpredictable weather and knowing how dangerously cold it is out there, obviously safety is a person's first thing."

Oscar Garcia has been waiting for his car since Sunday.

"We were making our way from Chicago and we decided to take an exit early. Those roads were pretty bad. We gambled and it didn't pay off. We made the phone call as soon as we got stuck."

"We were literally, by the time he called, I think 20 calls in the hole."

But, even as they keep adding up, Moore keeps towing.

"We're trying to get everyone out, that's for sure."

Driving around town, there are still dozens of cars stranded; mostly on rural roads.

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