MILWAUKEE -- A tow truck driver continued to recover Sunday, Sept. 22, after a semi crashed into his cab while he was on the side of the road near the Mitchell Interchange on Aug. 26. Friends and co-workers called his survival remarkable. Many in the industry came together for him and a greater cause on Sunday morning.
Pulled over and ready to help a motorist in need, Joe Altenhofen soon became the one who needed assistance.
A semi driver going too fast for the rainy conditions on I-94 near Layton plowed into the driver's side cab, crushing it with Altenhofen inside.
"Is he okay?" said Mark Salentine, Altenhofen's manager. "I don't think anyone would say they are okay after broken legs, broken ribs, after not being able to return to work and normal life."
Salentine said it was important that their company, Ray's Towing, showed support at a fundraiser held in Altenhofen's honor Sunday at Herman's Auto Clinic on S. Howell Avenue near College Avenue from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
"We thank God he's alive, and he's doing the best he can," said Salentine.
The mangled truck sitting at Herman's Auto Clinic triggered feelings that hit close to home for many.
"It's tough every day out there," said Dan Crown, a good friend of Altenhofen. "It's dangerous."
Donations at a car show Sunday would go toward Altenhofen's recovery. Co-workers and others tried to raise money and also, awareness.
"We would just like to get the word out about the (Move Over Law)," said Salentine. "That's the first way to help prevent this."
Salentine said the consequences can be grave.
"More than one life is lost in the towing industry per week because of incidents on the highway," said Salentine. "We are just trying to help people, and do our jobs."
With a lot of healing left, Altenhofen wasn't able to come out -- but co-workers said he was grateful for the compassion and concern.
"Pretty humble that way, and wished he could show his appreciation," said Crown.
If you would like to help, you can donate to Altenhofen's GoFundMe page HERE.