GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Lerrin Derooy has been towing stranded drivers for over a decade. Derooy said that when he first got into the business, he was unaware of the dangers he’d face.
“Honestly to tell you the truth, the first year of two with this job, I was scared to death,” said Derooy.
Derooy said that most often people behind the wheel aren’t paying attention to the wrecker on the side of the road, and come within just feet of the tow truck at high speeds.
“I would have to say the one we had a year or two ago, maybe even not that long ago, we’ve had some drivers lose their legs. Not from our company, but from other companies. There have been drivers killed,” said Derooy.
While riding with Derooy, it wasn’t long until FOX 17 came across LaDawn Evans. She blew a tire on her minivan along I-196 during the evening rush hour, a time Derooy said is the most dangerous.
“We have a very tight spot. We have all of the snow being plowed against the wall, limiting my area and we have a blind turn, so we are in a really bad spot,” said Derooy while pulling over to the side of the freeway.
Derooy said that it’s not just his safety he’s worried about, but it’s also the well being of the stranded driver.
Evans said that she was thankful she stayed safe while waiting alongside the freeway for almost an hour.
“It was scary to be in that bend of the curve there waiting to get rescued. It was scary,” said Evans.
Despite Derooy enjoying his job, he said that he doesn’t want any family members to follow in his footsteps.
“One thing I tell them if it’s someone I care about, a good friend or family, I would never ever recommend this type of work for them because I know something is going to happen. It will happen. It’s just a matter of when,” said Derooy.
Derooy also said that law enforcement does a great job flashing their lights to warn drivers. His biggest tip to drivers is to “slow down and back off” when wreckers are on the side of the roadway.