Spirit Ride helps promote law
July 11, 2018
Sheridan Norberg knows how dangerous a tow job can be.
“Dad took three trips to the hospital,” Norberg said. “I went once.”
While working a car wreck outside of Rock Springs, Norberg was clipped by a speeding vehicle. He was sent over the wrecked car he was working on. The incident resulted in a concussion, his left fibia cracked, he suffered a sprained ankle and was in a cast for six weeks.
“I was 18 when it happened,” Norberg said. “I had just graduated high school a few months before.”
Norberg estimates that since 1967, eight of his family’s tow trucks have been hit by vehicles while on duty. Norberg said the dangers are far more severe than a trip to the hospital. He remembers when a Rock Springs tow driver had died while on a call during the 1970s and said another tow driver died near Gillette a few years ago.
Norberg admits he’s had some close calls since then and often keeps a close lookout for oncoming traffic while on a job.
While reading a copy of “American Towman Magazine,” Norberg found an article about the American Towman Spirit Ride, a relay involving tow companies from across the country raising awareness for move over laws. Norberg decided to get involved.
The Spirit Ride travels across the country and displays a ceremonial casket, which is taken from place to place by tow trucks. Norberg Towing will bring the casket to Green River from Mountain View Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, a ceremony is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m., near the U.P. Depot at 200 East Railroad Ave. Afterward, a procession of tow trucks and emergency vehicles will guide the casket through Green River. Norberg said he will transport the casket from Green River through Kemmerer and into Idaho, where the next tow company will take the casket.
“Something like this needed to be done,” Norberg said about the ride.
The Spirit Ride aims to promote awareness of “move over” laws requiring drivers to move into another lane when approaching a vehicle with emergency lights displayed at the side of the road. Information from the National Safety Commission suggests 70 percent of American drivers don’t know the law exists, despite it being a law in every state. In Wyoming, a modified version of the law took effect July 1.
The Spirit Ride started June 2017. According to a press release about the Spirit Ride, hundreds of professionals are involved in roadside incidents every year, with approximately 100 of those incidents resulting in fatalities. Of first responders killed in those roadside incidents, 60 percent were tow truck operators.
“We’ve all been lucky,” Norberg said. “I was lucky.”