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

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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 www.discoverychannel.ca or follow @DiscoveryCanada and @HwyThruHell on Twitter.

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  • 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.

    • Umm your wrong. Maybe you drove during the summer because I have been driving that highway for over 30 years in all weather and it is hell when you have stupid ass drivers that don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. So I highly doubt you have driven it in all weather conditions.

    • Oh wow Richmond. That is nothing compared to the big highways. Been driving that highway for over 30 years in all weather conditions and I do know Richmond and Richmond is kindergarten compared to coq. Richmond lol lol lol lol

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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 !

  • 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.

  • 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 ,

  • 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

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

    • Love the best scariest reality show on TV. I too would love to have the series on DVD if and when they are available. Especially the ones with “Bruce” the older guy who did things”his way”! What ever happened to him? Was he forced into retirement? He most likely is working the same job with a different boss? That is if the everpresent cigarettes don’t get him first.

      • Bruce passed away after a short battle with cancer in December 2014. The first episode of the new season did a short tribute to him, as well as some footage of his funeral procession.

  • LOVE the show and have always loved Wreckers. My Dad was a mechanic/wrecker driver and once when I was a kid on the way to a wreck Dad stopped and let me drive a little down the road. Didn’t have license then. That was about 65 yrs. ago, will NEVER forget it. Roy

  • This was one show I thought was not for me but I ended up loving it. I found myself feeling bad for Jamie especially when it came to Bruce. Hopefully he knows he did the right thing. You could look at Bruce and see that he was sick. I hope Bruce was able at some point to appreciate the time that was left to him. I’m only in the 2nd. Season (Pinterest) so I’m wondering, what happened to the guy that lost his license and on the same day started having serious back pain? Maybe Rob was his name. Anyway is the show still on? I would just like to wish all those guys luck, safety, and prayers. And thank you for a good show I sure didn’t see myself watching. Lol ,God Bless each one.

  • Clowns without a Circus! How much for the series $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$???? $$$$$$$$$$$.

    Get a grip all Media!! Just as the Ice Road Moron’s do camera men know REALITY!

  • Will I enjoy it a lot. I am a HR Coordinator for a trucking company. I do not have drivers in that kind of conditions we are all local. But I find it very interesting. Would much rather watch that then show
    about killing &, drugs.

  • They think pushing buttons is hard I wish I had a easy job like towing trucks and that fagboy step son always crying about amost getting hit by a car when there not even close to him get that pussy off the show

  • Where can I purchase the series Highway thru Hell as I have looked all over with no luck. Ruth

  • I believe that “Highway thru Hell” is one of the better shows on the air today. Sure it’s padded here and there, but the action and excitement add up for a very enjoyable product. There will always be those individuals who think that they can always do better, or the show is all made up to look scary. It’s not like the show is staged. I guess some people are planted deep in the snow and they pop out and create snowlike problems just so the truckers can have their day in the SNOW. (You people, please get a life). If you don’t like the show because you think it’s all fake, and for some stupid reason find it a shame, turn to another channel and watch bingo.

  • I’d like to know how these heavy duty wrecker drivers are paid. Do they have a regular salary? Is it per vehicle, by the hour? Will anyone please tell me. By the way, I love the Highway Thru Hell series!

  • My family really enjoys this show, especially my sons and husband. They love the big trucks and the tow trucks. Yes, as with all reality shows some things are made more dramatic than in real life, but it’s entertainment and everyone should know that. Anyway, I’ve been looking everywhere to purchase the series because my sons are such great fans. Any suggestions on where we can find it for purchase?

  • ” Highway though Hell ” You say ?

    Come down here & see how our CRAZY drivers are durning
    rush hour driving !!! People have NO RESPECT for Towing
    crews when they put their lives recovery work !

    I gave up the profession because careless drives out there .
    Should be a law , When YOU put us in DANGER ,. Shall have
    Your License Revoke & do serious jail time & Maybe this
    will wake up the public ..