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Tower Down - 10.08.22 (NY) "Updated 02.09.23"


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Tow Truck Driver Assisting Disabled Car Killed in Crash on Long Island Expressway


United States Emergency Responder Struck-By Death #37 of 2022 is New York State Tow Truck Operator Carlos Santiago who was struck and killed on the Long Island Expressway.


An overnight crash killed a tow truck driver trying to assist a disabled car on the Long Island Expressway, police said Saturday morning.


The 47-year-old man was outside of his truck when he was hit in the westbound lanes near Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens. The operator of the disabled car was also struck, police said.


Both men were taken to the hospital shortly after the 3:30 a.m. crash.


Police said the tow truck driver did not survive his injuries. The second driver was recovering at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


It wasn't immediately clear if the driver who hit them stuck around or left the scene.


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Knights Collision & Auto Care Center is deeply saddened to announce the tragic death of longtime employee and friend, Carlos “Campy” Santiago. At approximately 3:30am this morning, Santiago was fatally injured while assisting a disabled vehicle on the Long Island Expressway. Santiago succumbed to his injuries at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York. He was 47 years of age. Santiago is survived by his mother Carmen, his father Felix and his three children, Rocco, Carlos Jr., and Julia.


Carlos “Campy” Santiago served the New York Metropolitan Area for decades as a tow truck operator. Santiago was a loving father, a devoted son, a caring uncle and a loyal member of the Knights Collision staff. The entire staff of Knights Collision expresses their sorrow and sympathy over the devastating loss of Carlos “Campy” Santiago. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Visitation will take place at Evergreen Funeral Home 131 Nassau Avenue Brooklyn, New York Thursday October 13, 2022 4:00 - 8:00PM. A prayer service will take place at the funeral home Thursday October 13, 2022 TBD. Interment will take place in Puerto Rico.



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Tow Truck Driver Aiding Stalled Car Mourned After Booze-Fueled Crash on LI Expressway


Carlos Santiago is being remembered as a father of three who worked the grueling overnight shift to provide for his family


A caravan of tow truck drivers waited outside of the Queens County Criminal Courthouse Saturday night during the arraignment of the alleged drunk driver accused of killing one of their own.

Carlos Santiago, 47, died that morning in a chain-reaction crash while helping out a motorist on the Long Island Expressway.


"He was a father, he was a great co-worker," Maureen Napolitano said. She worked the overnight shift as a dispatcher for Knights Collision & Auto Care in Brooklyn.


Napolitano sent Santiago to help the driver of a Nissan sedan who had stalled out on the westbound lanes of the expressway near exit 19 in Elmhurst. Around 3:30 a.m., she got the call she was not prepared for.


"And the next thing I know, I get a phone call that my driver is in the middle of a highway and it doesn't look good for him," she said Saturday.


Investigators said a drunk driver in a Dodge Durango caused a three-car crash that ended up killing Santiago and seriously injuring the 27-year-old stalled driver.


Santiago is being remembered as a father of three who worked the grueling overnight shift to provide for his family.



"It's heartbreaking. I'm a father of four, god forbid something would happen to me, who is gonna take care of my family," Anthony Placencia said.


A caravan of Santiago's fellow truck drivers visited the spot on the Long Island Expressway where he was struck by the alleged drunk driver. Santiago's boss said the job of a truck driver has its fair share of risks, and now they want justice for their lost colleague.


"We're not gonna forget our friend, and we're not gonna just let this go unnoticed," Joseph Robles, president of Knights Collision & Auto Care, said.


Denzel Porter, 28, of Queens was arrested and charged with attempted vehicular manslaughter. If he is found guilty, he faces a prison sentence of up to seven years.


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  • 3 months later...

Drunk driver, 28, charged in death of tow operator on LIE in Queens: DA


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A drunk driver was charged in a multi-vehicle accident that caused the death of a tow operator on a Queens expressway last October, authorities announced Thursday.


Denzel Porter, 28, was arraigned on an indictment charging him with vehicular assault in the first and second degree, assault in the second degree, vehicular manslaughter in second degree, criminally negligent homicide, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and operating or driving an unregistered motor vehicle, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.


Porter allegedly caused a chain of collisions on the Long Island Expressway that resulted in the death of a tow operator and serious injury to a motorist.


According to the charges, at approximately 3:30 a.m. on October 8, Porter was driving with two female passengers at an extremely high speed in a Dodge Durango on the westbound side of the Long Island Expressway near Woodhaven Boulevard.


Carlos Santiago, a 47-year-old tow truck operator, was also outside his Ram truck on the right shoulder of the roadway, helping 27-year-old motorist Rakiem Ali with his disabled Nissan sedan, officials said.


Porter’s Dodge Durango slammed into a silver Volkswagen SUV driven by 66-year-old Peter Park and both the Dodge and Volkswagen then collided into the Nissan sedan, striking Santiago and Ali, who were standing nearby.


Santiago was thrown towards the service road parallel to the expressway and suffered severe lower body trauma, including the loss of one of his legs.


The Nissan owner and tow operator were both taken to a local hospital.


Santiago died as a result of his injuries, police said.


Ali required intensive surgical care for his injuries. Both passengers of the Dodge Durango and the Volkswagen driver were also taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-critical injuries.


Investigators responding to the scene of the accident observed the defendant exhibiting signs of intoxication.


Porter is set to return to court on May 2.


If convicted, Porter faces up to seven years in prison.


"There's nothing more selfish than getting behind the wheel and driving under the influence," Katz said. "Everyone with whom we share the road deserves our respect and consideration and has every right to reach their destination safely. The defendant is alleged to have been driving while intoxicated and will be held to account for the tragic consequences of that decision."



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