Video/News: Tow truck driver describes crash that injured his brother and two troopers

Jeffrey Wait is suffering from injuries including a concussion and a severe cut on his head. John Wait of Wait’s Garage in Wynantskill said he and his brother Jeffrey were called to winch out a car that was in the center median along I-90 near Exit 8 in North Greenbush early Sunday morning. Police say that driver had been on his cellphone.

They had just started pulling out the car, surrounded by emergency lights, Wait said, when another car came whizzing by him from behind and plowed into the troopers and his brother. “One was thrown toward the guard rails in the median and one was jammed up underneath our flatbed,” said Wait. 

“And then the car went through, hit our cable, and then it went to the right and up on the bed and it bridged off the bed onto the road and it also hit my brother and he ended up underneath the car with the trooper.” Police say Trooper Brent Karow was thrown 70 feet and Trooper Shane Swartz was trapped.

Christopher Neumann, 26, of Castleton was arrested. He’s facing charges including vehicular assault and DWI. Tow truck operators say they work in dangerous conditions every day, as vehicles speed by, despite the “Slow Down, Move Over” law. “You feel them, when they catch your jacket or your vest, it grabs you, it pulls you. We’re trying to get the legislature to step up and say we need to protect all the men and women on the highways,” said Tom Brennan, president of the Empire State Towing and Recovery Association. Brennan is calling for tougher penalties for those who injure a tow truck driver.

Tow truck operators say all those who work on the roads want to go home to their families. “You go out and you expect to be returning with no problems,” said Wait. “It just didn’t happen yesterday.” He also wishes the two troopers a speedy recovery. They were listed in serious, but stable condition Monday.

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