A tow truck operator who was assisting a broken down semi driver on the side of I-79 near Morgantown, West Virginia (WV), died when a second tractor-trailer struck his wrecker from behind. The fatal rear-end collision happened at around 4 am on August 9, 2016.
The deceased tow truck operator was sitting in his truck and parked behind the trailer of the trailer of the disabled semi to provide cover for another wrecker operator. The driver of the second tractor-trailer appears to have missed the flashers on the parked tow truck and failed to change lanes to give the emergency responders a safety buffer. The impact ejected the tow truck operator from his rig, and he died from his injuries at the scene of the crash.
West Virginia, like most states, has a move over law that requires drivers to slow down and, when possible, change lanes when approaching police, fire, and rescue vehicles in a median or on a shoulder. Deadly accidents like this one outside of West Virginia illustrate why obeying move over laws is essential. Reducing the time and space law enforcement and emergency personnel need to do their important, lifesaving jobs can result in needless injuries and deaths.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I urge everyone to watch for and respect emergency vehicles by the roadside. Police, EMTs and other emergency responders deserve protection, and that protection is as easy to provide as moving over.