August 1, 2008
The most dangerous risk most people face at work is getting their tie caught in the copy machine. Not Bill Gratzianna. He and his wife Marci own the Chicago-based O’Hare Towing and Recovery. He knows first-hand that accidents happen and cleaning up isn’t for the faint of heart.
While most people are familiar with the tow truck if their car breaks down or if they’ve parked illegally, the towing and recovery business can be a very dangerous one. According to the Tow Truck Association of America, more than 60 operators are killed on the job each year. Some reports put the number as high as 100.
The crew from O’Hare Towing puts their lives on the line during each recovery--and they respond to more than 200 calls each day. “This is a very dangerous job,” says Bill. “We lose a lot of towing operators on a regular basis‚Ä¶every response is delicate and can be volatile.”
Calls may be as mundane as a flat tire on the side of the road or cleaning up the remnants of a major wreck. “Seeing teen bodies being pulled out of a wrecked car after drinking and driving will haunt me forever,” says Katie Gratzianna, Bill and Marci’s 16-year-old daughter.
Keeping a busy towing business functioning in the middle of chaos is in Bill and Marci Gratzianna’s blood. Their parents are in the business and Bill’s brother (who also happens to be married to Marci’s sister) owns a rival shop. The best thing about the job, says Marci, is working with her family.
A typical day at O’Hare Towing and Recovery includes 12-hour shifts filled with adrenaline, accidents, yelling and lots of coffee and doughnuts.
“This is a world similar in many respects to that of a major urban firehouse,” says Robert Ecker, vice president of programming for SPEED. “Until the phone rings and that emergency call comes in, there’s simply no way of knowing what any given day will bring and when it does come, lives can literally hang in the balance.”
Viewers can follow the Windy City’s toughest (and most colorful) towing family as their new show “Wrecked” debuts on SPEED July 17 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central. The show is Bill’s latest pride and joy. “We gave them the ammo for the best tow show ever,” he says.
For more information or for a programming schedule, visit www.SpeedTV.com.