Three tow operators saved the day for a Westchester neighborhood by preventing a tractor-trailer hanging off an overpass from falling onto their homes.
The incident took place around 12:45 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, when a tractor-trailer driver lost control and flipped over on I-95 in New Rochelle.
The rain was pouring down the wind was howling the tractor-trailer hung 60-feet in the air above homes below, said Anthony Paniccia Jr., of Vincent's Service Station.
Paniccia, along with Felix Hughes and Danny Consigliere, arrived on the scene to find the tractor-trailer blocking all lanes of traffic and precariously hanging off the edge of the highway.
"You think you have seen and done it all and then you arrive at another crash and think, oh man, this is bad," said Paniccia who has responded to hundreds of crashes.
Putting danger out of mind, and working on adrenaline, the trio went to work figuring out to remove the tractor-trailer without the worst happening -- it plunging 60 feet to the homes below, Paniccia said.
The three men climbed on top of the trailer and hooked up chains and shackles to remove the cab and free at least one lane of traffic.
Then Paniccia climbed out on top of the trailer to connect chains to pull the trailer off the ledge.
"You get tunnel vision," he said. "You are just doing your job like you have hundreds of times before."
After about two hours the rig was removed and the lanes were clear, but that's when the nerves set in, he said.
"It was crazy," he laughed.
The driver of the tractor-trailer safely escaped without injuries, he said.
And while the trio did their work, the New Rochelle Fire Department was busy containing spilled fuel, as the New York State Police kept traffic at bay.
After another two hours of getting the mess back to their lot, the three men were free to go back to bed, if not a little shaken.
"Hey, it was another job and nobody was hurt," Paniccia said.
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