Onalaska Resident Rescues Motorists in Need on Christmas Eve After Ice Storm


After last Friday’s freezing rain storm caused dozens of accidents in the area, 36-year-old Onalaska resident Jack Franks went out the next day, on Christmas Eve, to help stranded motorists pull their vehicles back onto the road.

Originally from Olympia, Franks has had family in Onalaska since the 1980s and moved there himself four and a half years ago. 

Using his own personal tow truck, he helped pull nine cars out of roadside ditches near Onalaska on Saturday and has continued helping by towing cars to mechanics to fix damage caused by sliding off the road Friday. 

“Two of them were actually rollovers, everyone was perfectly fine though, and those rollovers occurred on Burchett (Road). Five of the cars I dealt with were all on Burchett actually, all within about 100 feet of each other,” Franks said. 

Christine Kardos, one of the drivers who was assisted by Franks, said she is thankful for his kindness and generosity. 

“Jack only charged $50 a tow on Christmas Eve, and he did so for complete strangers. His kindness deserves recognition and we are absolutely grateful for all of his hard work,” Kardos wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

In fact, Franks actually chose not to charge one of the people he helped out that day. 

“One guy who rolled over, he didn’t have any money on him, so I just said ‘Merry Christmas, have a good day and save my phone number,’” Franks said. 

Franks even towed the man and his car back to his house despite not getting paid. 

Ultimately, he decided to go out on Christmas Eve to help because he knew people would be facing long wait times from tow trucks, something Franks has already helped with in the past. 

“I bought it for personal use a couple years back and I’ve dealt with a lot of people out here who say when they call another tow company they’re waiting three hours plus,” Franks said. “I’ve pulled our local ambulance out of a ditch before because they called Grant’s Towing and got told it would be a three hour wait. They can’t wait that long so they were knocking on my door just asking if I could winch them out.”

Because he owns his own personal tow truck, Franks is now planning to open his own towing company. 

“We’re actually working on going and getting a business license, insured, bonded and everything so we can legally do this for a living out here,” said Franks. 

He also thanked Onalaska residents Troy Zigler and Chris Chandler for assisting him with road safety while he was winching cars back onto the road.