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July 30, 2009

CRASH: 3 are injured as tow truck hits car, plows into backyard

Three people were injured Wednesday morning when a flatbed tow truck crashed into a car and careened into an in-ground pool on Tonawanda Creek Road.

Rapids Fire Chief Barry Kobrin said a man identified as Nicholas Sparks, driving a tow truck for Adams Towing, was traveling east on Tonawanda Creek Road about 8 a.m., and was apparently talking on his cell phone as he approached the intersection with Willow Wood Drive. A car was stopped there and waiting to turn left.

Deputies are investigating whether Sparks was also sending a text message at the time of the crash.

The tow truck driver reportedly struck the back of the car, causing it to spin around and land in a ditch, then continued, swerving off to the north side of the road and crashing through a backyard fence.

One of the cars it was towing flew off and struck the house at 6369 Tonawanda Creek Road, crushing the air conditioner and gas main, Kobrin said.

“It took out three or four sections of fence, and there’s some structural damage to the house,” Kobrin said.

One of the motorcycles being towed flew off the truck as well, landing underneath the car on the lawn. The tow truck ended up with its front end in the home’s in-ground pool.

Inside the house, the homeowner, who asked not to be named, said it sounded “like a bomb went off.”

He said he was upstairs with his two 5-year-old daughters at the time of the crash. When he looked outside and saw the devastation, he said one thought went through his mind: “I was thankful (the girls) weren’t swimming.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Bruce Elliot said the tow truck driver was talking on the phone when the accident occurred, and he may have been sending text messages on a separate phone.

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