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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMarch 14 - March 20, 2018

Grain Truck Stuck

by Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

William "Bill" Josler founded Sabil & Sons in White River Junction, Vermont, in 1980; he's now retired, but still hands-on. His wife and company VP, Sally, passed away earlier this year. Sons Doug (service manager) and Wayne (parts manager) are co-owners of the company and handle the day-to-day operations these days. Larry Fortier is the truck manager.

In the winter of 2016, Vermont State Police called the company to recover an overturned grain truck.

"A large, fully loaded tandem-axle bulk grain truck had attempted to make a delivery to a Vermont farm located at the top of a steep one-lane ice-covered road," Fortier said. "The driver made it almost to the top of the hill before the truck started sliding backwards for a substantial distance, ending up off the road, over a steep embankment and into a small brook."

Doug, Wayne, Wayne's son Zach and operators Tim Keener and Travis Gault responded with their R-Model Mack with a Challenger 6802 35-ton, a Kenworth T800/Jerr-Dan 25-ton integrated tandem and a Kenworth T800/NRC 40-ton sliding rotator.

Once on scene, they surveyed the situation. This was a large, fully loaded bulk grain truck. The tandem-axle truck with pusher axle was heavily damaged and the crew proceeded to secure the area and organize a plan to remove the diesel fuel and grain.

"We used a crane," Fortier said, "to provide access with a manlift to aid in accessing and removing the grain from the damaged body."

The Sabil crew recruited a 23.5-ton Terex boom truck from Hutch Crane Service in Bradford.

After the fuel was removed from the dual diesel tanks, each of the individual tank compartments had to be cut open to facilitate removal of the grain. Wayne and a helper worked in the manlift to remove the grain from the body of the truck.

Once accomplished, they staged the necessary equipment to carry out the recovery plan for the removal of the badly damaged grain truck. They strapped the tank portion of the truck for lifting. The NRC rotator did the lifting while the 35-ton Challenger and the 25-ton Jerr-Dan winched from the front.

"There were numerous delays as the result of having to start and stop the recovery process," Fortier said, "whenever there was a large truck that had to access the farm. Trucks would arrive to pick-up and remove milk and to deliver grain and other items as necessary."

The recovery took three days and one overnight to complete due to various existing conditions. The recovered vehicle was towed to Sabil's yard in White River Junction with the Jerr-Dan 25-ton integrated tandem.

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Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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