SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The towing of vehicles in the Murdo area did not stop because it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“I worked the whole time, helping out the (South Dakota) DOT and helping the Highway Patrol removing vehicles on the side of the roads,” said Cody McKenzie of All Pro Towing in Murdo.
“It’s still not over,” McKenzie said today (Dec. 26).
The holiday work happened after All Pro Towing had 200 to 250 calls per day recently during the high winds that blew about 2 1/2 feet of snow around in the Murdo area, said Lynette Tollakson, the manager of All Pro Towing. It’s a streak that started the week of Dec. 12 with ice, sleet and a big snow dump of more than 2 1/2 feet. It continued last week when the wind blew the snow.
Murdo is along Interstate 90 in Jones County.
“We have responded all sorts of calls: vehicle/semi rollovers, winch outs, stalled vehicles, fuel deliveries, gelled up semis, etc.,” Tollakson said in Friday (Dec. 23) evening email to KELOLAND News. “Calls come in at all hours and have been consistent,” Tollakson said.
The calls aren’t just coming from the Murdo area.
“All Pro Towing has received calls located near and far. Most calls have been located in our service area, however, we have had people looking for us to tow in places as far as Nebraska and North Dakota,” Tollakson said on Dec. 23. “There has been one local Murdo resident in search of a tow, but the majority of our customer basis through this storm system has been commercial truckers.”
All Pro has been assisting state departments and local law enforcement with vehicle removal.
The two weeks of calls came during times when no travel was advised in much of South Dakota. Even when many state highways were closed and when sections of Interstate 90 were closed. Temperatures were well below zero with wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph at times during the week.
“Whiteout blizzards and high winds have made it very dangerous for our employees to do their jobs,” Tollakson said in the email.
The weather conditions aren’t the only challenges the towing and repair company faced, Tollakson said in the email.
“A challenge of ours, poor weather conditions or not, is a lack of employees. Our tow truck operators have been working around the clock to keep our community, travelers, and truckers safe,” Tollakson said. “They have been working 48+ hours shifts and are growing more exhausted each day.”
Tollakson praised the three tow truck operators for their hard work.
And the hard work continues. McKenzie said tows would continue today as drivers left during poor conditions on Dec. 25.
McKenzie said it was the nature of the job, but that conditions are expected to improve this week.