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Man Killed in street near tow truck.(MA)


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A 57 year old man was killed while tow truck was preparing to drop vehicle in front of his home. The victim was standing in the street when he was struck by a vehicle which left the scene. The man dead at the scene and that hiy & run vehicle was later found in the driveway of a home nearby. The Tow Truck Driver was not injured in this tragic incident.

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This is one of those scenarios where the tower most likely will be blamed for the customer's death ... beyond that of the hit and run driver when arrested.  At what point are tow operators in-charge of a customer's movements when a vehicle is either being picked up or dropped off? This unfortunate fatality may end up as a lawsuit against the tow operator and his company for not keeping control of the customer's movements. I'm including a link of a HUGE California lawsuit regarding Ruben Monarrez versus Automobile Club of Southern California where controlling the roadside customer was one of the major issues in the lawsuit.  Link:  https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1616140.html


While I believe that every competent thinking adult should know better than to stand in the street, the average Joe doesn't have the safety mindset we towers are expected to have. Accordingly, I won't judge this tower's actions, but I know that if sued, the Plaintiff will attack the tower's training. I really feel bad for the tower as he was simply doing his job. As in the Monarrez case, I was the subject matter witness for the tow operator and the Auto Club, yet the overall sentiment in the Monarrez case settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. That simply means ... someone paid big bucks. It's called, "Baby Sitting 101", and something we're tasked to do ... not that we already have enough responsibility to include our own personal safety during load and off-load considerations.


So, I'll ask, "What steps do you/should you take to control your customer when loading or unloading based on your training and on-scene safety? Read the Monarrez case and think of what you would have done to protect the customer's safety.  Monarrez was struck on the highway while venturing into highway traffic lanes. Is the danger any less on city streets, and, do we (as towers) have a responsibility for a customers safety, or are they simply on their own?Note: This was a California case where protocol is not/may not be consistent with other states, clubs, or company policies and procedure. Please evaluate this case as it regards your state of operations.    R.




Randall C. Resch

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