Heavy Rescue: 401

Available on Discovery GO

Synopsis

HEAVY RESCUE: 401 tells the stories of heavy recovery drivers who fight to keep traffic rolling on some of the busiest and most unforgiving roads on the planet. Jobs and lives depend on these highways, and it’s up to the heavy rescue teams to keep them open.

Season 2 Episode 1
Season 2 Episode 1
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Season 2 - Episode 1

"It Only Takes a Second"

Sonny Subra and the team from Steve’s Towing fight to remove the wreckage of a dump truck embedded in an overpass on the 401. James Ireland faces a trailer threatening to cave in on his crew – while the police work to solve the mystery behind the wreck. And Gary Vandenheuvel's rotator becomes a lightning rod as a job in a thunderstorm turns into a crucial test for Collin.

Season 2 Episode 2
Season 2 Episode 2
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Season 2 - Episode 2

"This is Chaos"

A freak storm unleashes a hundred-car pileup east of Toronto, pushing Steve and Sonny to lead the recovery charge. Kevin fights a tough wreck after a trucker smashes into an orchard. A special police detail takes to the highway for a lifesaving medical mission. And the Cornwall crew battles a stubborn jackknife.

Season 2 Episode 3
Season 2 Episode 3
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Season 2 - Episode 3

"Guardian Angel"

A massive multiple-semi crash in a tunnel forces the crew from Coxon to clear a big mess in a tight space. Mark Haslett heads to the rescue when a woman is trapped on a dangerous stretch of the highway in Toronto. Andrew and Nate try to contain a load of beer ready to burst through the front of a trailer.

Cast Info

Gary Vandenheuvel, Preferred Towing
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Gary Vandenheuvel, Preferred Towing

Gary and his wife, Tammy, have grown Preferred Towing from a single tow truck into an operation with a fleet of heavy wreckers and a reputation as one of the best in the business.   Gary might come across as easy-going, but when he’s leading a big team on a difficult recovery, he’s all business. This season, that focus and drive is put to the ultimate test when the Preferred crew take on several extremely challenging wrecks.

Collin Vandenheuvel, Preferred Towing
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Collin Vandenheuvel, Preferred Towing

This season, Collin has graduated from light-duty tow trucks to heavy wreckers. But it’s not just the trucks that are heavier – so is the weight on his shoulders now that he must prove he’s got the skills to justify his bigger role in his parents’ company.

Kyle Pewtress, Preferred Towing
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Kyle Pewtress, Preferred Towing

Since Kyle made the transition from truck driver to heavy recovery operator, he’s been looking to get more experience on tough wrecks. Be careful what you wish for. This season, he and the Preferred crew face a potentially explosive recovery – forcing Kyle to help come up with creative solutions to some dangerous problems.

Mark Colbran, Preferred Towing
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Mark Colbran, Preferred Towing

Relatively new to the heavy recovery world, Mark has been focused on soaking up experience by working with more experienced operators. But this season, Mark strikes out on his own and risks striking out completely on his first solo recovery.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, OPP
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Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, OPP

In Ontario, when you think of provincial highways, one name springs immediately to mind: Sergeant Kerry Schmidt. Kerry is the media coordinator for the Ontario Provincial Police’s Highway Safety Division. Kerry’s job is getting the word out when there is trouble on the roads, but his main goal is to save lives by raising awareness about safe driving.

Kevin Richardson, Metro Towing
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Kevin Richardson, Metro Towing

Kevin finds himself at the centre of a massive news event when extreme weather triggers a spectacular crash that leaves the Toronto-area commute in chaos.  Kevin must take extreme measures to pull off a very unconventional recovery.  And this year, there is a new addition to the Metro team when Kevin and his partner welcome a little “swamper” into the world.

Steve Pillai, Steve's Towing
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Steve Pillai, Steve's Towing

Sonny Subra, Steve's Towing
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Sonny Subra, Steve's Towing

Sonny is not only chasing recoveries this season, he’s chasing a dream: running a rotator. But that desire will lead him to a fork in the road forcing him to make a tough decision.

Herb Vink Jr., Herb's Towing
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Herb Vink Jr., Herb's Towing

Herb’s name is on the side of the some of biggest and best heavy recovery vehicles in the country – including one of only two 80-ton rotators in Canada. While Herb has handed over the day-to-day management to his son, he can’t resist lending his expertise on some high-stakes jobs this season.

Andrew Vink, Herb's Towing
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Andrew Vink, Herb's Towing

With his father beginning to hand over the reins of Herb’s Towing, Andrew is stepping into the role of general manager. But leading one of the biggest heavy recovery operations in Eastern Ontario is a big responsibility and will test Andrew in ways he can’t even imagine.

Nate Wilson, Herb's Towing
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Nate Wilson, Herb's Towing

Nate is the senior heavy operator at Herb’s Towing and has a true passion for recovery work.  But this season, Nate will need to modify his normal high-energy approach when he takes on an underwater recovery that requires a patient and very delicate touch.

James Ireland, Classic Towing
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James Ireland, Classic Towing

James and his massive, 75-ton rotator battle the elements this season with a wreck toppled by wind and a semi crushed by ice. But his most dangerous recovery comes after a volatile tanker, fully loaded with diesel and gasoline, rolls over on the highway.

Bubba Semple, Classic Towing
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Bubba Semple, Classic Towing

James Ireland describes his right hand man as looking exactly like the stereotype of a tow truck driver.  But beneath his bushy beard, Bubba is soft-spoken and thoughtful.  He works with James and the crew at Classic to keep the traffic moving north of Toronto.

Brad Coxon, Coxon's Towing
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Brad Coxon, Coxon's Towing

Brad is the second-generation owner of the business his dad, Bill, founded in 1961. Bill was not only an entrepreneur but also an innovator – building the first hydraulic wrecker in North America. Like his dad, Brad takes a very hands-on approach to running Coxon’s Towing Services – joining his team on some of the biggest recoveries of the season.

Eric Godard, Coxon's Towing
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Eric Godard, Coxon's Towing

At nearly six and a half feet tall, Eric jokes that he only uses a wrecker because he doesn’t like to show off. But don’t let Eric’s daunting stature fool you. When it comes to caring about the safety of his crew and the travelling public – that’s where Eric truly towers.

George Dagenais, Coxon's Towing
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George Dagenais, Coxon's Towing

Last season, George was a rotator rookie. This year, George’s skills are put the test in a series of big, unconventional recoveries that require a tricky combination of brute power and a delicate touch.

David Ross, Ross' Towing
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David Ross, Ross' Towing

Dave started towing as a side-job for his father’s gas station in London, Ontario back in the 1950s. He loved it and went on to build Ross’ Towing – a highly respected and successful recovery business.  More than 50 years later, David has been recognized with a long list of honours and awards across North America including induction into the International Towing Hall of Fame.

Mike Ross, Ross' Towing
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Mike Ross, Ross' Towing

Along with his brother, Mike Ross is taking over leading Ross’ Towing from his father.  They are big boots to fill, but growing up in the business, Mike has years of experience under his belt.  Ross’ home base is in the epicentre of South-western Ontario’s snow belt – where sudden nasty winds and lake effect snow can wreak havoc on the roads with little notice.

David Ross, Ross' Towing
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David Ross, Ross' Towing

Dave dabbled in retirement, but he’s finding the world of heavy recovery hard to leave behind. This season, he is back on the highway for one of the year’s biggest wrecks — and it’s a good thing. When things start to go sideways, Dave’s lifetime of experience proves as invaluable as a rotator.

Rick "Bear" Renders, Ross' Towing
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Rick "Bear" Renders, Ross' Towing

With more than 30 years of heavy recovery experience, “Bear” is at the stage of his career where he wants to pass along his knowledge to the next generation. A key piece advice he was given from his boss when was first starting out: if you ever stop getting afraid on the highway, it’s time to get out of the truck. It’s a warning that working next to highway traffic is a constant danger – something no heavy recovery operator should ever forget.

Brad Prince, Ross' Towing
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Brad Prince, Ross' Towing

Brad says after his first heavy recovery, he was hooked.  It shows.  With training from “Bear”, he’s risen quickly in the ranks.  After just a few years at Ross’ Towing, he’s running a heavy wrecker and starting to get a little time on the controls of a rotator. This season, Brad gets a chance to work on some huge wrecks, but it comes with a lesson on just how dangerous heavy recovery can be.

John Allen, Abrams Towing
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John Allen, Abrams Towing

John is one of the most qualified heavy recovery operators in the country and the company he works for, Abrams Towing, is one of the biggest. It’s a combination that means John needs to be ready to tackle any kind of recovery, anytime, anywhere.

Mark Haslett, Abrams Towing
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Mark Haslett, Abrams Towing

Mark is the first line of defence when the snow starts to fly in Toronto – patrolling the highways in his one-ton truck looking for trouble. Rescuing people surrounded by live lanes of traffic is extremely dangerous for both Mark and drivers. But Mark says the payoff comes when he gets a hug or a handshake when he’s succeeded in getting someone out of harm’s way.

Manjinder "Sunny" Dhesi, King Towing
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Manjinder "Sunny" Dhesi, King Towing

Sunny and his brother Sukhjinder run one of Greater Toronto’s newer heavy recovery firms.  They founded King Towing less a decade ago, but have quickly assembled an impressive fleet of 13 powerful wreckers.  This winter, Sunny and his team will get the help of a high-profile new operator as they tackle one of the biggest wrecks of the season.

David Davidson, Unique Towing
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David Davidson, Unique Towing

David is a twenty-year veteran at Unique Towing based in Gananoque, ON. Unique Towing is situated in a vital transportation zone where Interstate 81 from upstate New York feeds into Highway 401 near Kingston, ON. It’s an area vulnerable to sudden and severe storms – meaning David and the Unique Towing crew need to be ready for any emergency, any time.

Amin Abderrahman, Auto Route
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Amin Abderrahman, Auto Route

Amin and his two brothers, Yassin and Rachid, started Auto Route Towing nearly two decades ago.  Since then, they’ve assembled a small fleet of custom-built wreckers that can handle the heaviest of recoveries.  In the past, we’ve seen them team up alongside competitors like James and Bubba at Classic, but this winter the Abderrahman brothers will face a massive challenge — relying on their own experience to get the job done.

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