More than 41.5 million Americans are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. The National Safety Council has released estimates indicating that 402 fatalities are expected during the holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 25, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 28. More accidents mean more tow operators on the side of the roadway putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of helping others.
On May 11, 2017, tow truck driver Scott Bowles was tragically struck and killed by a passing motorist in Bell County, Texas. Scott Bowles left behind his wife, Stephanie, who is also a tow truck driver, and three children. Stephanie Bowles was fortunately able to recover a civil settlement regarding the death of her husband. However, to date, the Bell County, Texas prosecutor has yet to file any criminal charges against the motorist who struck Mr. Bowles despite protests from Stephanie and the local tow community.
On August 27, 2017, tow truck operators from locations near and far will convene at a local Kansas City park to remember Blake Gresham and “light up the night” for awareness about the importance of Move Over Laws. On August 27, 2012, Blake Gresham was just 18 years old when he was struck and killed while towing a vehicle from a Kansas City highway. This year will be fourth time tow companies have gathered on the anniversary of his death. However, this year will be the first time the event will feature the Spirit Ride.
In May, 2017, another tow truck driver was killed in the line of duty in Killeen, Texas. Every time a tow truck driver is struck, well intentioned tow truck drivers hit the streets promoting Move Over Laws and urge the public to Slow Down and Move Over.
We at TowLawyer.com are saddened when we learn about a tow truck operator getting killed or seriously injured while working on the side of the roadway. In fact, according to the chairperson of the “Wall of the Fallen” at the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, every six days a tow truck operator dies in a towing-related accident. Many more tow truck drivers are severely injured.
Every year in late summer, I am reminded of Blake Gresham. On August 27, 2012, Blake, who was a 19 year old local tow operator, was struck and killed while he was towing a vehicle from the side of a Kansas City highway. Both before and after Blake’s death, there have been many other tow operators and other emergency workers killed in the line of the duty despite the fact each of the 50 United States now have some form of a Move Over Law.
The towing trade publications and websites routinely carry reports about tow truck drivers who, in the process of hooking-up or servicing roadside accidents on the roadside, are struck and seriously injured or killed by vehicles that were supposed to safely pass by. All too often, the drivers of the crashing vehicles are drunk or otherwise impaired to the point they should not be operating a motor vehicle.