Meet Rescue Ranger Kait Bailey

It’s foggy out and well past your bedtime. Heading home, the engine starts making this odd, chattering sound. Then, bang, no power and a silent drift off to the shoulder and the dirt. Cars fly past your door at Mach 5, inches from your body. You make the call. Meet Kait Bailey of Bailey’s Towing in Merrimack. She’s the one who pulled up behind you with all those flashing lights on her rolling roadblock. She’s the one who reassured you as she wrestled chains, hooks and levers. She’s the one who got you safely out of there. You’ll deal with the car tomorrow. Right now, you’re home, intact and grateful.

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Photo by David Mendelsohn

  • Towing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Being picked up or dropped off in a tow truck to school or basketball practice was the norm for me and my two older siblings.
  • Towing is sometimes a lot more than a job — it’s more of a lifestyle.
  • There were plenty of times growing up my dad missed out on family events or our basketball or baseball games. I know he just barely saw my brother get his diploma before having to leave on a police call.
  • We joke that we have banker’s hours, but it’s the hours of the ATM machine.
  • We always used to argue about who got to go on tows with my dad growing up.
  • As I got older, I would still enjoy helping my dad and going on tows with him, but I really didn’t start doing it on my own until about two years ago.
  • We have a great group of part-time drivers on our team  — that helps with the 24/7 schedule.
  • According to statistics, a tow driver is killed every six days on the roadway nationally.
  • From the moment you pull your truck over to the side of the roadway, you have to constantly be watching your back. With cars buzzing by at 65+, you can feel yourself moving from their draft.
  • My dad (who has been doing this for 40 years) has experienced actually helping remove the victim from the wreckage when he first started the business.
  • I honestly have not experienced anything too bad yet at the scene. I’ve seen plenty of fatals come back to the shop, and am on the phone with the surviving family the next day.
  • Distracted driving has become a huge problem as technology in vehicles and phones progresses. A lot of these new cars practically come with full-size computer screens right on the dashboard to pull your eyes off the road.
  • There have been occasions when we recovered cars down embankments, across brooks. We’ve  pulled cars out of houses, and even had to take a boat across a river to get to a car that landed on an island.

Holmes...first Wrecker

The fine art of pulling vehicles out of bad spots and towing them home found its origin story in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when a driver named Ernest Holmes Sr. ran his Ford Model T into the Chickamauga Creek. After it took eight men a full day to get “Tin Lizzie” back on the road, Holmes went back to his own garage and with a couple of friends devised what is now considered the first tow-truck prototype — a simple 1913 Cadillac chassis with a metal-tube framework, plus pulley mechanisms and steel wires with hooks. Chattanooga is now the home of the International Towing Museum (, and the “Wall of the Fallen” memorial that honors those who died while trying to rescue fellow drivers from tough places. Here’s hoping you never need them, but find Bailey’s Towing and Auto Body at They have shops in Merrimack and Amherst.

Categories: Q&A