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Tower Down - 10.15.20 (CA) "Updated 12.06.22"


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Tow truck driver killed in Highway 99 collision in Delano


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A tow truck driver helping a stranded motorist was killed after another vehicle collided into his tow truck along Highway 99 in Delano, according to the California Highway Patrol.


CHP Sgt. Michael Phillips said the crash happened just before 10 p.m. just south of Wollomes Avenue in northbound lanes of Highway 99. Phillips said a red Mitsubisihi SUV veered from the slow lane and collided with the tow truck that was on the right shoulder as the two truck driver was assisting a stranded motorist.


The tow truck driver was standing beside the tow truck at the time of the crash and he was struck and killed. The Kern County Coroner’s Office will identify him.


The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries.


Phillips said investigators are also looking for a white vehicle and its driver that may have witnessed or may have been involved in the collision.


Drugs or alcohol are suspected to be a factor in the collision Phillips said, but it is under investigation.


Two right lanes remained closed for the investigation. Take an alternate route if possible.


We will update this story as we learn more information.



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Christine and I send our prayers the tower's family and the company he worked for.       R.


Five tow operator fatalities in 37-days, three of those in California alone with four of five being between the hours of 8:45 PM and just after midnight. Only one was around 0600 hours.

Randall C. Resch

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Man pleads not guilty to manslaughter in alleged intoxicated driving crash which killed Tow Truck Driver


A man accused of driving while impaired when he struck and killed a tow truck driver pleaded not guilty Tuesday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.


Grant August Miller, 48, also pleaded not guilty to driving without a license and was ordered held on $100,000 bail. He’s next due in court Nov. 23.

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Man charged in tow truck driver’s death admitted using meth, ‘nodding off’ before crash: reports


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man charged in a crash that killed a tow truck driver admitted to “nodding off” behind the wheel and said he was tired because he used methamphetamine the night before, Superior Court documents say.


Grant August Miller, 48, of Clovis has been in custody since the Oct. 15 crash and has pleaded not guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving without a license. He’s accused of hitting a tow truck driver assisting a stranded motorist on northbound Highway 99, south of Woollomes Avenue.


California Highway Patrol officers dispatched at 10:35 p.m. to the crash contacted Miller, who said he was the driver of a Mazda CX-5 with major right-side damage blocking the northbound lanes, according to the court filings. Miller told officers he was driving from Tehachapi to Fresno because of work when he dozed.


The steering wheel and car jerked, and Miller woke up then felt the car hit something, according to his statement in the documents. The car skidded to a stop, and he got out and saw the right side had sustained serious damage. Miller also saw blood on the vehicle, and soon afterward a body on the ground, the documents say.


“Through his statement I came to the conclusion Miller allowed the Mazda CX-5 to veer to the right, eventually colliding with the tow truck and its driver, who was walking around the left rear of the tow truck,” an officer wrote in the documents.


When asked questions regarding whether he was driving while impaired, Miller said he smoked meth the night before, and he felt tired because of the drug’s effects, the filings say. The officer noted Miller had red, watery eyes and “extremely constricted” pupils. Miller was taken to a hospital and had blood drawn for testing before being booked into jail.


His next court hearing is scheduled Jan. 25.


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Man who admitted using meth before deadly crash sentenced to time served


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who used methamphetamine before getting behind the wheel and crashing into a tow truck, killing its driver, was sentenced Tuesday to time served.

Grant Miller was sentenced to 16 months’ time served and ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined to the family of tow truck driver Robert Garcia Jr., who was standing by his truck on the shoulder of northbound Highway 99 when hit. Garcia had been helping a stranded motorist at the time of the Oct. 15, 2020, crash.

Last month, a jury acquitted Miller, 50, of gross vehicular manslaughter, instead convicting him of the lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with ordinary negligence.

Miller had faced one of three possible terms: 16 months, two years or four years. But given the amount of custody credits Miller earned — he had been in jail from October 2020 until his conviction, when his bail was lowered and he was released — he would have remained out of custody even if the four-year term was imposed.

Judge John W. Lua said he grappled with whether to sentence Miller to the low or middle term. The jury found it true that Garcia had been “particularly vulnerable,” an aggravating factor filed in the case, and Lua weighed that against mitigating circumstances, including remorse expressed by Miller. He then sentenced Miller to the low term.

Prosecutor Tara Deal, who had asked for the upper term, afterward said Garcia “had no chance to protect himself, and he was unguarded, defenseless, and vulnerable to Miller’s decision to drive while under the influence of methamphetamine.”


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California seems to be one of the most leanest states when it comes to handing down sentences. This one is an example of where the sentence does not recognize the tragic loss of life and the contributing factors which cause that life to be lost. I feel for the victims family as justice was not served.

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