Dealing with the aftermath of car crashes

Flowers at the scene of a fatal crash at Old Caloundra Rd.
Flowers at the scene of a fatal crash at Old Caloundra Rd. Patrick Woods

In the eyes of a tow truck driver…

Mike Clayton, operations manager, Clayton's Towing

WHEN a Triple Zero call is made and emergency services begin to dispatch their crews, they have little time to prepare themselves mentally for what lies ahead.

When the confirmation is made that someone has died in a car crash, the mood turns sombre, but there's still a job to do, and patients to care for.

But when passengers and drivers are tended to, it is the tow truck drivers who are left to pick up the pieces- in more ways than one.

Clayton's Towing is the peak towing company on the Coast and drivers attend most fatal car crashes in the region.

Mike Clayton says the impact of a fatal crash is felt even in the days afterwards when parents, husbands, wives and children visit the towing yard to salvage precious memories and items from the wreckage…

"We are basically left to deal with the people who are feeling that grief and are seeing the car for the first time," Mike said.

"It always looks different in the light of day.

"Sometimes that moment the family or the parents come the next day is sometimes harder than the actual accident.

"We see a lot of accidents, but it is not until you see the effects on the family that it really hits you.

"You see family looking for things in the vehicle and it hits home.

"They might be looking for items that mean something to them or to the person who has died, a necklace or something that's come off them or is still in the car.

"It's hard to deal with, it's hard to know what to say.

"A vehicle after a fatality has a certain smell to it, a mix of oil, blood and everything else mixed together.

"There's always a feeling you get when you see the car the next day and personal items are still in the car.

"A fatality, especially a young life, has many flow on effects for emergency service workers, tow truck drivers and anyone involved.

"It's a real ripple effect, to everyone and all families involved."

Topics:  claytons towing crash editors picks fatal opinion

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