Texas Hill Country Recovery

Texas company recovers a rolled tri-axle dump truck

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Getting in position.

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Two of Tavo’s heavies arrive on scene.

Gustavo “Tavo” Jimenez Jr. established Tavo’s Automotive in Crystal City, Texas, in 1974. Before he died in 2007, he passed the business on to his son Gustavo “Tavo” Jimenez III, who began concentrating on the heavy-duty towing and recovery work once he took over operations.

All of Tavo’s operators are TDLR licensed and WreckMaster certified. They continually train to keep up with the latest equipment and safety procedures. The company currently has yards in Carrizo Springs, Uvalde and Eagle Pass, primarily serving the southwest Texas region.

At 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, Tavo’s received a call by a local gravel company to recover a 2004 Mack tri-axle dump truck that rolled over north of Uvalde; Tavo said it was just over 50 miles from the shop.

Tavo’s dispatched two Century 50-ton heavy recovery units. Operator Jesus Mata was in Unit 227, a 2007 International/Century 9055 and operator Rene Jimenez was in Unit 307, a 2007 Peterbilt/Century 9055 50-ton. Tavo was on scene as safety supervisor for their emergency response team, which included heavy-duty riggers Gilbert Lopez and Gus Saucedo.

Tavo’s team arrived on the hill country ranch road at 3 p.m. and waited for an escort to the recovery location. They were on scene at the gravel truck by 3:45 p.m.

“The gravel company dump truck, loaded with dirt and gravel, was traveling off road down a hill country, narrow, steep, winding ranch road and slipped off the road,” Tavo said. “The dump was found on its passenger side 25-feet down an embankment with a 30-degree decline.”

Tavo’s team analyzed the scene and got their heavies in position and rigged the dump truck so they could first roll it back up onto its wheels.

“Unit 227 was used to winch on the steering axle and Unit 307 was used to winch on the bed of dump truck, Tavo said. “It was rolled onto its wheels at 4:45 p.m.”

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Unit 227 (Century 9055) winching the front-end of the dump onto the road and Unit 307 (Century 9055 50-ton) slingshots the rear of the dump onto the road.

At 5 p.m., Tavo’s team rigged up to start winching the dump out of the embankment. Unit 227 was used to winch the dump forward and Unit 307 was used to keep the truck from rolling further down the embankment.

The dump was found on its passenger side 25-feet down an embankment with a 30-degree decline.

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Unit 227 winched the dump forward; Unit 307 kept the truck from rolling.

“As the dump was winched closer to the ranch road, Unit 227 moved further down the ranch road allowing Unit 307 to go down the ranch road to make a turn around,” Tavo said. “Unit 227 then reversed uphill; now with units facing in the opposite directions they positioned to complete the dump truck recovery onto the road.”

Tavo’s team proceeded by winching the front end of the dump onto the asphalt with Unit 227 and used Unit 307 to sling-shot the rear of the dump onto the ranch road.

The dump truck was towed by Unit 227, and headed back down the ranch road to make a turn around. Tavo’s team then headed out of the recovery location.

“Before getting on Texas Highway 55, our team checked for any loose or broken items on the dump truck. Once secured we proceeded to the gravel company yard, in Crystal City, arriving at 9:10 p.m. Our units were back in service at 9:30p.m.,” Tavo said.

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The heavies did a sling-shot of the dump facing opposite directions.

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past few years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com .