By Evan Cooper, OVN intern
Twisted metal, traumatized people and the dangers of the road are all things that tow truck driver and Ojai resident Christian Barnes faces on a daily basis.
Barnes, who grew up in Southern California, has been working in the towing business for 17 years and has fallen in love with it.
“I moved out to Ohio and my neighbor asked if I wanted a job towing,” said Barnes. “I needed the money so I said yes.”
When he eventually moved to Ojai, he stuck with towing. Despite the struggles and the pressure of the business, Barnes has stuck with the job.
“I work with a lot of guys who have come and gone,” said Barnes. “With towing you either love it or you hate it.”
Being able to work in the towing business in Ojai is a dream come true for Barnes. “I enjoy the people of Ojai as well as the scenery, it’s a great place,” he said.
Barnes now works at Adamson Automotive Repair & Towing, where he works alongside his towing partners, Miguel, Ricardo and Gary. “The guys here are like brothers, they are my extended family,” said Barnes.
In his 17 years on the job, Barnes has faced some extreme challenges, not all of which are on the road. “My truck is my mistress,” said Barnes as he looked back at his tow truck. “My wife Jennifer is sometimes living with a ghost.”
The long hours on call and life out on the road are challenges that Barnes and his family have accepted, along with the dangers he faces when at calls. While helping someone at the side of the road, other drivers often drive right up next to him, putting him and others at risk. Barnes frequently works in extreme weather, helping people on the side of the road no matter what the hour.
“I have had to climb mountains and dealt with fatal crashes,” Barnes said. “I have seen things on the job that give me nightmares.”
Working in the towing business, Barnes is at the scene of all types of automotive crashes, no matter what the situation. “When you get called to a DUI, oftentimes the driver is sitting in the squad car yelling at you as you tow their car,” he said. “It’s just something you learn to deal with.”
But something that no tow truck driver can overcome is being at the site of fatalities. “We work with car crashes so we see a lot of fatalities,” Barnes said. “It’s not something you ever get used to, but you learn to handle it.”
Despite all the challenges that Barnes faces, the positives still outweigh the negatives.
“I love being on the road and helping people,” he said. “You meet all kinds of people and you get to help them.”