Tow operator helps save driver who dropped off Colorado mountain

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — It’s been a busy few weeks for Mountain Recovery up in the high country, as crews worked day and night during the recent snowstorms to help drivers in distress on the roads.

“It was go-go-go last night and this morning. We had a lot of truck traffic,” Kory McMahon, a heavy wrecker operator, said Wednesday.

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But last Friday, during a snowstorm, he was out patrolling Interstate 70 looking for drivers who needed help. Around 7 p.m., McMahon happened to be in the right place at the right time, when a truck lost control while heading eastbound on I-70 toward the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels.

“There was a snowstorm, we were out looking for people in trouble,” McMahon said.

He said he saw the truck hit the guardrail, and he was hoping the guardrail would stop it from going over the edge.

“Right as that happened, the front end went up over the guardrail and caught for a moment,” McMahon said. “It was then teetering and tottering, but as soon as it tipped forward it shot down the hill, gone.”

McMahon, the only person to witness the crash, knew he had to call for help. After making that call, he put on his snow gear and went to see if the driver was OK.

“I just slid down the mountain on my butt, all the way down to the truck,” McMahon said. “As soon as I got down there, I could hear a, ‘Help me!'”

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The truck was on the side up against a tree, and McMahon said the driver was stuck dangling in his seatbelt but was conscious and able to talk. While they waited for rescue crews, McMahon said he kept talking to the man to keep him calm.

“I kept reassuring him help was coming and we were doing our best,” McMahon said.

Eventually, crews got to the scene to rescue the man and McMahon was able to hike out. Another Mountain Recovery crew towed the truck out the next morning.

“From where his truck was on the road to where it slid down was probably 350 feet or so,” McMahon said.

McMahon feels thankful he saw the crash because, based on weather conditions that night, he doesn’t think anyone would have been able to find the driver otherwise.

“It was dark, it just kept snowing. His tracks would have been covered, no one would have known he was down there,” McMahon said.

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