IMAP program rescues stranded drivers, helps clear accidents - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

IMAP program rescues stranded drivers, helps clear accidents

The NCDOT IMAP program provides roadside assistance to law enforcement on the scene of car accidents. (Source: WECT) The NCDOT IMAP program provides roadside assistance to law enforcement on the scene of car accidents. (Source: WECT)
NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) -

As tourist season approaches, the highways in southeastern North Carolina are becoming more crowded by the day.

The drivers at NCDOT's Incident Management Patrol are there to assist you on the roads when you need it most.

The State Farm Safety Patrol is a free roadside service that will help you regardless of your insurance provider. The patrol drivers will jump-start your batteries, change flat tires and more.

"I've changed water pumps and radiators on the side of the road," said Terry Bates, a patrol driver with the IMAP program.

Armed with a truck that has more uses than a Swiss Army knife, Bates patrols our highways, searching for drivers in need.

"You don't have to sit on the side of the road and wait for a family member to come out because ultimately our goal is to get you off the road and keep you moving and keep you safe," Bates said.

Bates helped a young woman to safety Friday afternoon when her car slammed into the back of another car on North College Road near Kings Grant.

The woman was uninjured but shocked at what had just happened. Bates got her out of the car and away from the flammable fluid leaking from her radiator.

"I've been called an angel from god," Bates said, cracking a smile. "I always knew I was meant to help people and be there for people."

Bates was a volunteer firefighter for 12 years, and keeping people safe might as well be in his DNA. When asked how he drives to work not knowing what dangerous situations each day will bring, Bates said the answer was simple.

"Knowing that I made somebody's day better," Bates said. "Knowing that their day is better because I was there to help them."

WECT's Connor DelPrete first met Bates, a patrol driver, when he was on scene redirecting traffic as law enforcement saved a woman from jumping off the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge last November. Bates said that is one example of how doing his job helps law enforcement stay safe while they are trying to do their own job.

If you need help on the roads, call *HP for assistance.

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