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

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Mya Servatius and Marilyn May handing out gift baskets to seniors. (Michelle Tremblay photo)
NISS students practice kindness by giving gifts to seniors

This project wasn’t part of a class at NISS, or for any extra credit.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue map of controlled burning.
Controlled burn happening this weekend on Highland Drive

No unauthorized persons, including media, will be permitted within the “Hot Zone”.

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read