CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – A tow truck driver has a long road to recovery after the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says he was pulled from a deadly crash off Highway 224 on Friday.
Gary Smith, a driver for Elite Towing and Recovery, is still in the hospital with multiple injuries. He has quite the supportive community, as people have donated thousands in just days to help him. He says he’s thankful for the support and for the people who have helped to save him.
“I'm thankful to the gentlemen that yanked me out of my truck, to save my life,” Smith said.
The crash occurred late Friday night near Southeast Dale Lane, and law enforcement on Monday shared dash cam video of the moment Smith was rescued.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy and bystander pulled Smith out of his mangled tow truck that night around 11:30 p.m.
The sheriff’s office says a driver in a Ford pickup was traveling east when they crossed the center line and hit Smith’s tow truck head on. A passenger also had serious injuries, law enforcement said. The sheriff’s office says the driver of the pickup, Kelly Ann Mumby, 59, of Estacada, died.
Smith says he feels awful for Mumby’s family.
“Accidents happen," Smith said. Everybody has accidents. I'm not mad at her."
This is the tow truck Gary Smith was driving when the @ClackCoSheriff says he was hit head on by a Ford pickup on HWY 224 Friday. A passenger with Smith was also injured, the other driver involved died. Tonight I’m talking with Smith about his recovery @fox12oregon at 5 pic.twitter.com/SMJLCuqBEy— Sarah Hurwitz (@sehurwitz) June 22, 2020
While Smith is still processing everything that happened, his tow trucking community is already rallying behind him, donating thousands of dollars on a GoFundMe page to help him with his recovery.
“You know, the initial moments were pretty hard to deal with not knowing,” Max Kenworthy, owner of Elite Towing and Recovery, said. “You know luckily, later on, we were updated that he had been through surgery and he was going to make it out.”
Kenworthy says tow truck drivers are at a greater risk on the road and they’re trying to support Smith right now.
Smith says the kindness is overwhelming.
That is so overwhelming,” Smith said on Monday as he looked at the GoFundMe. “I appreciate everybody from the bottom of my heart.”
Smith says it could be several weeks before he’s released from the hospital. His GoFundMe is posted online here.
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