Mourning Kingman family wants to raise awareness of safe towing

Ryan Woods of Kingman died when a tow ball snapped and flew through the windshield last month while he was being pulled from the mud. Now his family wants to raise public awareness about towing safety. (Courtesy photo)

Ryan Woods of Kingman died when a tow ball snapped and flew through the windshield last month while he was being pulled from the mud. Now his family wants to raise public awareness about towing safety. (Courtesy photo)

KINGMAN – For the Wood’s family of Kingman, a July monsoon prompted the family to go to the desert and search for frogs. However, the family lost their father and husband, Ryan Woods, 43, from an accident after the family got their Ford Super Duty pickup truck stuck in the mud.

Jennifer Woods, wife and mother, recalled the July 26 family outing that resulted in them attempting to help another vehicle that was stuck, but getting their own truck stuck in the process.

Being the person he was, Ryan immediately looked for a solution to get Jennifer and their daughters home safely.

After calling a friend to help get them out, the first few pulls failed and the chains they had on hand broke. They then used a static HD tow strap, which caused too much tension on the hitch.

The tow ball ultimately snapped off the vehicle, sending it through the windshield of the truck, bending the steering wheel and killing Ryan instantly.

Now, Jennifer wants to raise awareness of not having the proper tools or professional help to extract a vehicle. She does not want any more families to experience a similar fate and pain.

“I’m sharing my story so that no one has to experience the pain my family has gone through,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer said it’s crucial to have the proper tools and equipment to tow, and to never use a tow ball.

Tow balls are used for pulling a trailer, but not for recovering. She also said to never exceed weight ratings.

At the time, Jennifer said the family didn’t know any better and we’re focused on getting out of the mud.

Now, she knows they would have never made that decision.

“It’s just something you don’t do,” Jennifer said about using a tow ball to recover the truck out of the mud.

Jennifer and Ryan had been married for 23 years. Jennifer recalled his community involvement through their church, Boy Scouts and cookouts. The family also owns Woods Portable Sheds located at the Kingman Industrial Park.

“His existence on earth was to help others,” Jennifer said.

She also shared stories about Ryan wearing the jewelry his daughters would make for him. Ryan was wearing a purple and white bracelet daughter made for him at the time of the accident.

“He always used to say he was ‘paying my way to heaven,’ when helping others,” Jennifer said.

For those who would like to help the family financially, visit https://bit.ly/3divZuE.

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