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Heavy rescue tow truck drivers go through ‘hell’ on new TV series

TORONTO, Ont. -- The treacherous kilometres of B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway will be getting their close-up starting next month when the Discovery Channel premieres its new “Highway Thru Hell” TV series.

TORONTO, Ont. — The treacherous kilometres of B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway will be getting their close-up starting next month when the Discovery Channel premieres its new “Highway Thru Hell” TV series.

The new show follows the team of heavy rescue tow truck drivers at Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue as they fight to keep open the 100-kilometre stretch of highway running through B.C.’s Cascade Mountains – touted as one of the most inhospitable trucking routes in North America.

The series premiere, titled “Death on the Coq,” features Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue’s “A” team, Adam Gazzola and Kevin Ritchie, spending a busy morning clearing spun-out semis off the road when word comes that a multi vehicle pile-up has closed down both northbound lanes. While Gazzola scrambles to get the highway open, Davis tries to free a semi from a steep, icy off-ramp. By sundown the crew is exhausted, but the Coq isn’t done with them yet. At 3 a.m., a five-semi wreck at the top of the mountain sends Davis and his 16-year-old son Brandon fighting their way through the traffic backup. This is Brandon’s first night wreck – and the hard reality of heavy rescue towing is driven home when he discovers a driver under one of the trucks, dead.

In addition to the men of Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue, the show’s producers are calling the team’s vehicles the “undisputed co-stars” of “Highway Thru Hell.” One such vehicle, Rescue 52, features a fixed 30-tonne crane, and two powerful winches which extends the reach of the truck for hundreds of metres. “It would take eight standard tow trucks to match the capacity of this single heavy wreck mover – a vital part of the rescue arsenal when a jack-knifed rig is dangling from a 120-metre cliff,” said a recent release from the show.

The original eight-part Canadian series is produced by Vancouver’s Great Pacific TV and will premiere Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the Discovery Channel.

For more information, visit or follow @DiscoveryCanada and @HwyThruHell on Twitter.

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14 Comments » for Heavy rescue tow truck drivers go through ‘hell’ on new TV series
  1. mike magillacuddy. says:

    Can you spell ?

  2. don hertel says:

    Enough already I have driven the coq for twenty years it is no highway thru hell. They sensationalise this crap and what does it do for our industry’s image? It makes us look like a bunch of buffoons. And it scares the tar out of our familys.

  3. kenny says:

    Einstein was a poor speller, so what’s your point smart ass ?

  4. r todd says:

    highway thru hell my ass i tow in richmond every day now thats hell on a good day.

  5. stew says:

    I went through that stretch 2 years back when there was a huge storm. All of the big rigs were stopped at the rest stops and would go no further. i pushed through with all of the parked trucks flashing their lights at me as if to say “don’t do it”…oh yes i forgot to tell you i was in a Hyundai elantra. It was not the smartest thing i have ever done…but i thought it would be worse if i stopped. I made it just fine but i only did 50km through there.

  6. don says:

    I shake my head at these shows . I,m only 55 started driving on the alaska hyw at 18 . I have hauled loads to top of tombstone in the yukon in the middle of winter . recovered trucks off steam boat mtn on the alaska hyw. When I started there was the odd 350 moter most were 220 or 250 or still gas and we hauled the same loads loads as the do now with our lockers or the power . and I don’t claim to know what the drivers like Cornish , Nelson , Streeper knew . But it makes a TV shows

  7. Steve says:

    What a total load of nonsense. I’ve driven the Coquihalla dozens of times, in good weather and bad, during the day and in the middle of the night. It’s definitely a challenge when the snow falls and there’s white-outs, and it can be pretty hairy. You just have to have good snow tires, drive cautiously, and be prepared. But it’s definitely NOT a “Highway Thru Hell”—there’s other highways that are way worse, for sure. How about the route from Pakistan into Afghanistan, where the NATO supply convoys have to contend with Taliban ambushes.

  8. paul g says:

    hey soper jame…watched your show last nite …great job ,well done ,lookn forward ta stoppn in 4 a beer one day soon

  9. Lucina says:

    It’s not that bad, foggy and snow
    you need to have music, good tires and patience when driving during bad conditions
    I feel safer driving on the Coquihalla andy time then the Highway of tears !

  10. jack says:

    I just retired after 48yrs of trucking and i think this show is TERRIFFIC.It is supposed to be entertaining not dead serious like some people want.

  11. Mr. Tomasz Czerwinski says:

    Hello y’all semi truck drivers
    i was driving semi trucks in canada for a little bit and the highways here are bad , single lane roads where there is so much room for at least double lane in each direction and they don’t build it , the curves the up and down driving this is the worst , those of you that are so sure and have these tips to have good winter tires or be patient what a bunch of croc , just wait untill it’s your turn in that ditch or that side of the mountain then you’ll be crying and saying that it’s a bad highway , i watched that fake ” ice road truckers ” tv show and there was a guy who said when he drove into a ditch he said it’s not why somebody drives into a ditch it’s when ,
    i drove from edmonton to whitehorse and back and i did get stuck my self on the steamboat hill and that highway is bad , same with all the highways and roads in canada , i went to europe and drove from rome italy through austria to poland and there is’s all flat 2 lane driving you guys would prabobly hate it no chalenge for yous ,
    there was a pile up 80 cars accident on the highway 2 from edmonton to calgary prabobly because non of them had any winter tires on ,

  12. linette says:

    I love your show doing a great job guys I cannot wait te see that hyw next summer

  13. Robert Assimacopoulos says:

    I like your show hard to keep drivers around just got my class 2, with air brakes, call me if you need a driver (ontario)5197292220

  14. Janet says:

    I love this show and would like to buy the complete series on DVD but can’t find where or if it is available.

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