Cooperation between a Rugby towing company, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Canadian truckers cleared a blocked section of US Highway 2 east of Rugby on the night of January 8.
The air brake lines of an 18-wheeler froze causing the rig to come to a halt as it turned into the parking lot of the Cendak Cooperative service station and convenience store in Leeds at around 6.40pm Cold, bitter winds were blowing over 30 miles per hour, while temperatures dipped to -11. The stopped rig blocked portions of the freeway’s eastbound and westbound lanes for several hours.
ND Highway Patrol Private Chris Laite pulled over near the disabled truck to direct traffic around it.
“All the brakes are on and it just locked up,” Laite said of the platform. “So we have no way of getting it off the road now. We called in a tow truck with an air compressor to ventilate the brakes and hopefully get that off the pavement.
Al Gault of Rugby’s A and C Towing answered the call. “I unhitched the trailer, then hooked it up to the tow truck and slid the truck into the parking lot to get it off the road,” Gault said.
Once the tractor portion of the big rig was in the gas station parking lot, Gault said he noticed another trucker, who had pulled up with his load of hay in the parking lot.
“I had helped him some time ago” Gault said. “I asked the patrolman to see if he would agree to hang on to this trailer.” Gault says the trucker “came right away,” happy to return the favor. “He hitched the trailer and pulled it off the road.”
Gault said the two truckers involved were from Canada. “The guy who helped was from Manitoba,” Gault said.
The disabled truck was driven by Adil Himat of Edmonton, Alberta.
Gault said the job took more than two hours. “I came back to Rugby around midnight” he said.
“It was bitter there” Gault said. “I was out on another call to North Rugby on Sunday.”
Gault said he was happy for temperatures to hit the 20s and 30s for a few days by January 16. “We just had an RV leave here,” Gault added. “They had come from Canada in the direction of Texas. It broke down and had been here since last week. They broke down because of the cold too.