Tow truck crews unload fizzy cases of soda from wayward semi trailer

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An early morning accident Wednesday involving an 18 wheeler snarled traffic for several hours on Highway 49. It happened around 2:30AM on northbound 49 near School Road.

Clearing the accident meant unloading hundreds of cases of soda products.

Workers from the towing company faced the task of removing the cargo - 40,000 pounds of RC, Nehi Grape and Strawberry Crush - and transferring it to another truck.

"As you can see, we have to do it all by hand. We don't have any way to use a fork lift to move anything. So this is actually the worst part of the job, having to do it all by hand right now," said Kade Freeman, part of the work crew that handled the clean-up.

They passed the cases bucket-brigade style.  Once a pallet was stacked high enough, it was wrapped in plastic and ready for a fork-lift to load it onto the waiting empty trailer.

Ashley Perry volunteered to help, since her dad works for the towing company.

"I wish they would come on. Get this over with. They take more breaks than I do," she said, motioning to the work team of mostly men.

These towing company employees have had some unusual assignments over the years; some worse than soda cases.

"When an 18 wheeler flipped over and put mortar mix in the middle of the median. Took eight hours to clean it up," said Robert Comford with All American Towing, "It was a pain. This is a little bit better."

These employees were getting quite a workout as they remove the hundreds of cases of soda by hand.

One worker said, "I may never drink another RC or grape soda again."

Volunteer Brian Atchley didn't mind the manual labor, even though it was awfully hot inside that twisted trailer.

"Happened to be off today. So, they called me up to see if I wanted to help. I said, 'Sure, I ain't doing nothing.' So I didn't know what I got myself into, but I got here," he explained.

The workers made the best of their strenuous task. Toting the cases of RC cola in the hot sun, several joked they wish it had been a beer truck.

No one was injured in the early morning accident. The semi truck driver was ticketed for failure to stay in the proper lane.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.