Urbana towing company continues 45-year New Year’s Eve tradition

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Tatman’s Towing in Urbana has a longstanding tradition of trying to keep people under the influence off the roads by giving rides to people in need.

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This marks the 45th year Tatman’s towing is making sure people get home safely after counting down to 2024. Owner Jim Hampton said it’s a service people take great pride in.

“Tatman’s towing is not asking for anybody to go out and indulge,” Hampton said. “But providing a service that if you find yourself in that position, instead of driving home, give us a call, we’ll get you home.”

Hampton has been continuing the tradition from previous ownership. Free rides for anyone too intoxicated to drive home on New Year’s Eve through the morning of January 1st for people in Champaign, Urbana, or Savoy.

“It’s been a great program and pretty successful,” Hampton said. “If we can get one person home safe, prevent one accident, prevent somebody from making that wrong decision, then it’s worthwhile.

Hampton said they average around 15 rides on New Year’s Eve. Service specialist Brandon Arnold said he’s been a part of this program for three years and said having this as an alternative is a lot easier than responding to a car wreck.

“I’d much rather do this for free than go out in the middle of an accident, cars destroyed and someone’s hurt,” said Arnold. “This is a good way to help the community and keep people safe.”

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Hampton said he’s seen the serious effects car accidents can have on people’s lives and will continue the program to make sure the entire community gets home and wakes up the next morning on New Year’s Day. 

“It doesn’t just affect the people in the accident it affects their families as well,” said Hampton. “So, it’s a snowball effect and we’re just trying to help the community and it’s just a great program we’ve been putting on for years.”

To get a ride you must have a functional car to tow back home with you. The offer is first-come-first-serve and areas outside Champaign-Urbana -Savoy are expected to pay $4.25 per mile. 

You can call (217) 328-2424.


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