Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. While working for Mission Towing, Wakefield spent over $25,000 personalizing his tow truck. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. While working for Mission Towing, Wakefield spent over $25,000 personalizing his tow truck. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Highway Thru Hell tow truck driver shifts gears, moves to Vancouver Island

Neill Wakefield is taking a break from business, and considering changing his line of work.

A star of the popular TV show Highway Thru Hell is travelling a new road this year.

Neill Wakefield, who appeared as one of the tow truck drivers on season five of the Discovery Channel show, recently moved to Langford on Vancouver Island with his family. His wife, Tiffany, is originally from the Island, and they moved back to live closer to her four kids.

The couple met through the towing industry on the mainland, and were married four years ago in Vegas.

“I’m still getting used to living on the Island,” chuckled Wakefield. “It’s a really beautiful place, but I am used to the big city, and being able to go anywhere at any time.”

Wakefield, originally from Brandon, Man., has moved numerous times in his life, primarily bouncing between Burnaby and Winnipeg. Throughout all the changes in scenery, his career in towing has been constant, taking his first job as a tow truck driver at 17.

READ ALSO: Old Highway Thru Hell tow truck helps move 850-tonne ship at Victoria shipyard

Days in the towing industry are long, tiresome, and at times, gruesome, but Wakefield has stayed with the work for 40 years.

“I’ve been addicted to towing I guess,” said Wakefield. “Hours are long, I’m on call pretty much seven days a week, so it’s more of a lifestyle, but I enjoy it.”

Wakefield was working for Mission Towing while featured on the Highway Thru Hell series, where he did heavy recovery work on Highways 1, 3, 7, 9, and Highway 5, also known as the Coquihalla. The tough job was recognized on the show, where Wakefield had to endure nasty weather conditions and dangerous situations in order to recover vehicles.

“Towing has to be in your blood to be good at it,” said Wakefield. “The pressure is on to get the job done without any problems, and every incident is different. There are quick decisions you have to make, and you have to work fast and efficiently because road closures are a big deal.”

The variety is what kept Wakefield interested in the work, but is also what has been the biggest challenge.

“You never know what you are getting,” said Wakefield. “One rollover could be easy, the next could be super complicated. You could be out in a blizzard, trudging through ditches or over cliffs, and people are relying on you to get it done quickly. I liked that the job was different every day, but it also added a lot of stress in my life.”

READ ALSO: Orcas spotted close to shore in Esquimalt

One of the episodes was focused around Wakefield and all the work he put in to personalizing his truck.

“I spent over $25,000 of my own money fixing up the company truck and making it nice. I wasn’t just a driver, I lived in my truck basically,” said Wakefield, who didn’t keep the vehicle after leaving his job with Mission Towing. “When I left the company I lost almost all of my money unfortunately. They gave me a little bit, but nothing compared to what I spent on it.”

Wakefield said he left Mission Towing after the company building burned down. He has worked in both the towing and long-hall businesses since leaving Mission Towing and the TV show. Since moving to Langford, he and Tiffany have both been working for West Shore Towing. However, Wakefield is currently taking a break from business, and is considering changing his line of work.

“I’m hoping to get a job with more regularity, something more laid back,” said Wakefield. “It may be time for me to be done with towing for good. It’s hard work, and it’s a younger man’s game.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. The couple, who met through the towing industry and married four years ago, wanted to settle here to live closer to family. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. The couple, who met through the towing industry and married four years ago, wanted to settle here to live closer to family. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. Wakefield has worked in the towing industry for 40 years, and said each vehicle recovery presents a different set of challenges. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. Wakefield has worked in the towing industry for 40 years, and said each vehicle recovery presents a different set of challenges. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. Wakefield has worked in the towing industry for 40 years, and said each vehicle recovery presents a different set of challenges. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Neill Wakefield, who appeared primarily on season five of the Discovery Channel TV show Highway Thru Hell, recently moved to Langford with his wife Tiffany. Wakefield has worked in the towing industry for 40 years, and said each vehicle recovery presents a different set of challenges. (Photo courtesy of Neill Wakefield)

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Most Read