Spiking Car Wrecks Tying Up Wreckers

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Twisted metal and shattered glass shows a grim side effect of our booming traffic levels.

"Traffic here is almost like driving in Austin," John Clark, Manager of Action Wrecker Service, Inc., said. "Roads around here are not made for the traffic that we have."

Action Wrecker Service, Inc. takes wrecked cars for Midland Police and the Midland County Sheriff's Office.

They're so full they're having to expand their lot from seven acres to 12.

Even with the 11 wreckers they have, they're short-staffed and so backlogged they're nearly two hours behind their normal response time.

"We're averaging between 50 and 60 calls a day," Clark said.

How many of those are accidents?

"Probably 10. 10 to 12," he said.

As traffic numbers boom, more and more cars get caught in the crossfire.

Midland Police's wreck numbers back that up.

"Right now, through the month of March, we've had 967, so that's averaging about 322 a month which would put us right around 3,800 wrecks for the year," Midland Police Lieutenant, Ray Leible, said.

That would be almost 600 more wrecks than 2011's total of 3,279 wrecks.

Odessa's impound, NealPoolRekers, is also swamped, short-staffed with only four drivers and responding to more than 20 wrecks a day.

Odessa Police said they're set to see an annual increase in wrecks too.

From January to April of 2011, the City of Odessa had 724 wrecks. From January to April of 2012, the city stands at 831 wrecks.

Midland Police said the good news is that only one person lost their life in a wreck so far this year.

They want to keep it that way, encouraging all drivers to leave earlier for work and be safe, a sentiment that wreckers echo.

"Slow down. Nothing's that important," Clark said.