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More than 80 tow truck drivers honor driver killed (OK)


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BIXBY, Okla. -- A tow truck driver hit by a semi truck last week was laid to rest. Jonathan Taylor's funeral was held at New Beginnings Baptist Church in Bixby Thursday. 

Taylor worked for Allied Towing as a heavy wrecker operator.

He was struck by a semi truck Friday afternoon while loading another semi truck onto a wrecker on the Will Rogers Turnpike near Claremore. 

More than 80 tow truck drivers met up before his funeral to drive there together. 

"It's a brotherhood," Nick Ragsdale, owner of Ragsdales Towing and Recovery in Spencer, Okla. "We all are a really close knit type family, so when there is a loss like this, even though we are 100 miles up the road, it's still close to him. It affects all of us." 

Drivers came from all over Oklahoma and even from surrounding states.

Not all of the drives knew Taylor, but they understand the danger that comes with having your office be the side of a busy road day after day. 

"It's scary honestly," Ragsdale said. "It really is. You never know. You spend just as much time with your head on a swivel as you do during the work you're doing." 

Ragsdale said their main goal is to get home safely to their families at night. Tragically, Taylor left behind a wife and three kids. 

"I can't imagine what would happen if I couldn't make it home to them," Ragsdale said. 

Oklahoma Highway Patrol said it is horrible that it takes an event like Taylor's death to make people aware of the importance of the "Move Over" law. 

It requires drivers to switch lanes when an emergency vehicle or tow truck is stopped with their lights on. If they cannot change lanes, they are supposed to slow down. 

Something simple, like obeying the "Move Over" law could save a life. 

"Slow down," Trooper Dwight Durant with OHP said. "Pay attention. Sit up straight and give us just a few seconds because that's all it's going to take for you to get by us." 

Taylor's memory is being honored by a black and yellow ribbon with a small chain on it worn on the shirts of the other drivers. 

"The fire department has the thin red line," Ragsdale said. "The police department has the thin blue line. We have the thin yellow line. The black is the pavement. The yellow line is the line there supposed to protect us and keep people in their lane away from us. The chain we have on there is representing JT's chains. We're now dragging them for him now that he's no longer here."

Click here to help Taylor's family.



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Wrecker Drivers Say People Need To Obey 'Move Over' Law

TULSA, Oklahoma -

There was an outpouring of support Thursday for the wrecker driver hit and killed alongside the highway in Rogers County last week.

Dozens of wrecker operators from three states formed a huge convoy to Jonathan Taylor's funeral Thursday.

There were more than 80 wrecker drivers present, not only to give support to JT and his family but to also make sure people understand, it's the law when you see them on the side of the road, you have to move over."


Driver after driver convoyed to JT's funeral service in Bixby to show their love and support of yet another wrecker driver taken too soon.

These operators are from all over the state, the Tulsa area of course, but also, Lawton, El Reno, Oklahoma City and as far away as Kansas and Missouri.

They want to say their proper good-byes to Jonathan Taylor but they also want people to know his death was senseless and preventable.

"If I could get out one message to the public, please stop killing us. Slow down, move over and give us room to work," said Bryan Hull, another tow truck driver. 

Bryan said 60 wrecker drivers are killed a year and JT was the third already this year and there was just a 4th in Pennsylvania. 

They say it wouldn't happen if people would just obey the move-over law in Oklahoma that says when you see vehicles on the side of the road with emergency lights on, you have to move over a lane and if you can't do that, you must slow down significantly.

"These are our brothers and sisters out here and we couldn't do our jobs without them." "They are first responders and should be treated accordingly," said Lt. Tom Montgomery with OHP. 

They handed out yellow and black ribbons to all the operators. 

The black represents the pavement they work on, the yellow, for the line along the highway and some of them have a little chain on them because there is a saying to the one who's past, rest well, dear friend, we will drag your chains from here. 



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It was a great event to be a part of, though a very sad event under the circumstances. We turned it from a funeral procession to SDMO Awareness Memorial Convoy in JT's memory. It all started in OKC 9:15 am for wreckers to meet in OKC and meet with the media to get our message out. Then a 2 hour convoy up the Turnpike to meet the Tulsa area trucks and the Allied Towing of Tulsa family at the top of the turnpike. From there, about a 14 mile convoy of all trucks to the church for services. News 9 OKC where it all started also with some chopper footage, ran this at top of the 6pm newscast and was top headline on their webpage that night. Hopefully we reached a few people, and hope a few will take the message seriously. These senseless deaths and critical injuries have got to stop. 



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