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Tow truck driver hit, killed while loading vehicle on truck (mi)

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01-10-18: SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

 

A tow truck driver was hit and killed while loading a vehicle on his truck Wednesday night, a police source told TV5.

It happened on northbound Dixie Highway near the Bridgeport exit in Saginaw County after 8 p.m.

The driver worked for Mike's Wrecker Service in Saginaw and was struck while loading a disabled vehicle onto a flatbed truck, a police source told TV5.

It is unclear if anyone else was injured.

Bridgeport Township police is investigating the incident.

TV5 will update once more information is available.

 

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Police identify tow truck driver killed, say alcohol a factor in crash

SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Authorities are investigating after a tow truck driver was hit and killed while loading a vehicle on his truck. 

It happened after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 on northbound Dixie Highway near the Bridgeport exit in Saginaw County. 

Investigators said 41-year-old Thomas Tripp, a Mike's Wrecker employee, was attending to a disabled vehicle when he was hit by a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 49-year-old Bridgeport woman.

Tripp was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The driver of the Jeep is in custody. Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

Her name is being withheld pending arraignment. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Thomas Tripp," Bridgeport Township Police Chief David Duffett said.

Bill Giorgis, president of Mike's Wrecker, said he will never forget receiving that phone call.

"It's been a horrible night for them and as well for his family here," Giorgis said.

Tripp worked for the company for almost 10 years. Giorgis said he loved his job and people loved him.

"He was someone that showed up to work on time and he gave 100 percent every day. And he was just a valuable asset to us as a company," Giorgis said.

He said these types of accidents are way too common for tow truck drivers.

"A tow truck driver gets killed almost every six days in the United States. It's a horrible, horrible statistic," Giorgis said.

Giorgis offered advice for drivers on the roads with tow trucks.

"More importantly than move over, we want people to pay attention when they're driving. Put down your phone. Put down whatever you're doing," Giorgis said.

Bridgeport Township police is investigating the incident.

 

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/11/2018) - The death of a tow truck operator in Bridgeport Township late Thursday has area law enforcement reminding motorists of Michigan's move-over law designed to prevent such tragedies.

 

Thomas Tripp, 41, died when a suspected drunk driver plowed into him while he was loading a disabled car onto his flatbed truck along Dixie Highway near Zelle Drive last Wednesday.

Michigan and all 50 states have enacted move-over laws directing drivers to slow down and provide a full lane buffer between themselves and emergency vehicles whenever possible.

What many people don't understand: The law classifies tow trucks and road maintenance vehicles the same as police cars and fire trucks.

Michigan State Police Trooper Amy Belanger said emergency workers are just doing their jobs alongside the roads and ask motorists to give them proper respect.

"It's a very scary feeling," she said. "It's so unfortunate that a man lost his life yesterday due to that reason."

Belanger said more police officers are killed in roadside collisions every year than any other cause, including gunfire.

"When somebody is driving and they focus on one particular thing, their body will naturally move over toward that object," she said.

Failure to abide by Michigan's move-over law is a misdemeanor. Any motorist who kills someone alongside the road by failing to move over could face up to 15 years in prison.

 

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Laws are all fine and good, but unless they are STRINGENTLY ENFORCED 24/7/365 it's just after-the fact.  Someone is hurt or worse (As we are seeing again today).   

 

I think The 3 most prevalent problems are:

Distracted driving - all the automakers need to incorporate some sort of cell phone blocking devices in all new cars going forward. 

Apathy by law enforcement - ALL POLICE agencies need to get serious about enforcing the MOVE OVER LAWS.  

Alcohol use/abuse - Laws don't protect all our First Responders from all the drunks on the road.  I wish I had an answer for that.   

 

I cringe every time I see the header 'TOWER DOWN'  in my email inbox.  Always hoping it's nobody we know, and still saddened that it happened yet again.  I look forward to the day when we no longer get those.     

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Emotions high as woman pleads to killing tow truck driver in drunken crash

 

SAGINAW, MI -- In a show of solidarity, more than a dozen people gathered in a Saginaw courtroom for a plea hearing of a woman accused of killing their tow truck-driving colleague in a drunken driving crash.

With a fleet of tow trucks parked outside the courthouse, those inside wore blue "Mike's Wrecker Service" shirts, the backs of which read "Slow Down and Move Over. In Loving Memory of Tommy." Some also handed out car window decals of white ribbons bearing the slogan and a tow truck hook.

The plea hearing of Deeann M. Parsons, 50, who police say killed Thomas "Tommy" Trip, was held Tuesday, June 5. Parsons appeared before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Andre R. Borrello and pleaded no contest to one count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death, a 15-year felony. She faced no other charges.

In pleading no contest, Parsons did not verbally admit to having committed a crime, leaving Borrello to rely on a police report to enter a conviction on the record.

Just prior to Parsons entering her plea, defense attorney Alan A. Crawford said his client was pleading no contest as opposed to guilty for reasons of civil liability and because she lacks memory of her crime, due to her intoxication level at the time.

As Crawford spoke, a woman seated in the gallery had frequent outbursts asserting Parsons should be pleading guilty. A man seated beside her told her to be quiet.

This in turn prompted Judge Borrello to admonish the crowd not to have any conversations or make any distracting sounds.

"I understand this is emotional for many people, but this courtroom has to maintain order, and I will do so strictly," he said. "I will instruct my bailiff -- if anyone speaks or has any disturbance, I want them removed immediately."

Crawford and Borrello also referred to a recently held Cobbs hearing, wherein the judge outlined the likely sentence Parsons would face if convicted. Borrello agreed to sentence Parsons within the recommended guidelines, which range from 29 to 57 months or 36 to 71 months. The definitive guideline range is determined by the Michigan Department of Corrections prior to Parson's sentencing.

Borrello sentences Parsons, who is free on bond, at 1:30 p.m. on July 18.

Parsons' crime happened about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 10, when she was driving back from a company holiday party at Bavarian Inn Lodge and struck the 41-year-old Tripp. Tripp, a Mike's Wrecker Service employee, had been loading a disabled vehicle onto his flatbed truck on Dixie Highway near Zelle Drive in Bridgeport Township.

Tripp wound up pinned between Parsons' Jeep Cherokee and his flatbed. Responding emergency personnel declared him declared dead at the scene.

Tow truck drivers who lined the streets with orange traffic cones outside the courthouse, watched on during and after the hearing as traffic continued to flow on South Michigan. Some motorists slowed and moved over to the inner lane, others zoomed by without any caution.

Tim Blank, of Best Towing, let his frustration show.

"Slow down and move over," he said. "Give us room to do what we do."

Blank previously worked at Mike's Wrecker for 17 years and was good friends with Tripp.

"I worked with Tommy every day for 10 years," he said. "In this business, we spend a lot of time together."

Tripp had been active in the community. He helped with cleanup after Saginaw's Fourth of July celebration around Ojibway Island and the Old Town areas, drove the tow truck that pulled a float in various parades within the city, and volunteered at the Children's Zoo at Celebration Square and the Mustard Seed, a women's shelter.

Eric Hosmer, who has worked at Mike's for 11 years, said tow truck drivers are very close to each other.

"We spend more time with each other than our families," Hosmer said.

Blank said he wants motorists to understand that tow trucks are emergency vehicles and drivers should treat them as such.

"It's law that people slow down and pull over for emergency vehicles," Blank said. "But most don't recognize us as emergency vehicles. We've had trucks hit before."

Tow truck drivers usually are responding along with police and ambulance.

"The worse the weather conditions, that's when we are the busiest," he said.

Tripp isn't the only tow truck driver in Michigan killed this year.

Nader Chehadi, 42, of Ypsilanti was killed Tuesday, May 29, when an SUV collided with a disabled school bus on the shoulder of the highway, just south of Ann Arbor. He was at the rear of the bus, assisting the bus driver when he was killed, according to police.

 

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