Man vs. nature, machines

Eric Platz Platz lives to rescue big rigs

“It’s a rush, especially when I go out in a snowstorm to get a loaded semi. No days are ever the same.” — Five Star Towing LLC owner Eric Platz

It’s hard to miss Five Star Towing LLC along State Highway 15, several miles north of Lafayette. An old tow truck is perched on pole just east of the the highway.

After studying diesel mechanics at South Central College in North Mankato, Eric Platz specialized in combine work at Potters Inc. in New Ulm. He later worked as a mechanic for New Ulm Bus Lines.

In addition to producing corn, soybeans, peas, wheat, alfalfa, hay and raising 5,000 pigs with his dad on the family farm, Eric bought a tow truck for his car scrapping business.

Eric thought about buying a big semi tow truck a few years ago when his dad, Paul, talked him into going into business together and growing a business other than farming. What began as part of his business soon grew into its own entity after people learned he had a tow truck and towed for people.

“I thought about working on my own instead of for somebody else, so I farmed more and got into towing. I went for it, taking the leap,” said Eric. “We’re busier than we ever thought we would be. We’re busy during good weather. We really get busy in rough weather. We’re here first for the local, repeat customers and law enforcement.”

Photo by Fritz Busch Eric Platz, the guy that gets the highway open after a crash or mishap, stands next to one of his heavy duty diesel wreckers.

More and more calls for towing jobs came in as time went on. Now the business, Five Star Towing LLC has five die

sel wrecker trucks and a 48- foot flatbed trailer plus substitute commercial semi tractors available.

“We service a large area, mostly to the north and west, outstate fairly often,” added Eric. “It can be challenging servicing our regular customers during a weather event. When it gets really bad, we have a hard time keeping up within 20 miles from our location.”

“I love it. It’s kind of a rush. It’s challenging. I find the light duty tows kind of boring. I like working crash jobs that aren’t easy,” he added.

He used to compete in school bus and combine demolition derbies and race auto cross in Arlington when he had more time.

The Platz’ originally built their shop to repair farm equipment. Now they use the shop to repair their own farm equipment.

Photo courtesy of Eric Platz Eric Platz used cables to pull a semi tractor trailer out of a State Highway 22 ditch south of Gaylord several years ago.

“What I like about it is, I don’t know what I’ll be doing 10 minutes from now. I often don’t have a plan for the day. I just go until the work is over. It’s fun,” Eric said. “I meet friendly people from all over the world in this job. I tell them they are welcome here.”

“I’d like to thank law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighters. They show up to help with crashes I go to and don’t get enough credit,” he said.

Eric collects classic cars, the ones others often don’t want, like old station wagons.


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