Kingman mom raising awareness about proper towing techniques after husband’s death

Jennifer Woods says a tow ball hitch exploded through their Ford Super Duty windshield, killing her husband Ryan.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:00 PM MST
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KINGMAN, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Kingman family is mourning after the father of three was killed in a freak accident after trying to help strangers stuck in the mud following a storm in the area.

It happened last week, as the family got stuck in the mud during the attempted rescue. Now, Jennifer Woods is looking to raise awareness about the dangers of not having someone professionally tow and rescue the car as she struggles to process what occurred just days ago.

“I just started screaming to the top of my lungs he’s dead! He’s dead!” Woods said. “So people would come running and get us out of there.”

It’s still hard for Jennifer to accept that one minute, her husband Ryan and their three kids were looking for frogs in the mud. And just a short time later, a tow ball hitch exploded through their Ford Super Duty windshield, killing Ryan. “I looked over, and I saw his face,” Woods said. “I believe he was gone that moment I saw it with my own two eyes.”

Ryan had previously called a friend to help get his truck out of the mud. “My husband and him just thought that they were doing it right,” Woods said. “But obviously it wasn’t.”

Professional Towing and Recovery General Manager Zaid Marzokah says while it might be easier and cheaper to rely on a friend when you’re stuck, in the end, it’s always better to call a professional. “Recovery, there’s a lot of training involved, a lot of equipment involved,” Marzokah said. “So you never recover with a tow ball hitch. It’s weak. It’s not made for recovery, it’s made for towing.”

Jennifer and her kids have felt the consequence of this decision firsthand. Now, her mission is to prevent the same thing from happening to others. “I want people to know that there are proper ways of getting out of a situation like that so that they don’t lose their loved ones,” Woods said.

Ryan was just 43 when he died. But as Jennifer continues to raise awareness about how to safely tow vehicles, she believes his legacy lives on. “I think he’s saying thank you,” Woods said. “And he’s wanting me to continue to serve here on Earth in his place.”

If you’d like to help the Woods family financially, here’s a link to their GoFundMe.