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Two tow truck drivers struck and killed while trying to recover vehicle from ditch


Two tow truck drivers lost their lives yesterday when they were struck by a pickup truck along a Montana interstate.

The fatal incident occurred around 6:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, during slick road conditions between Columbus and Park City, Montana.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the two tow truck operators were on foot working to recover a vehicle from a ditch along I-90 at mile marker 413 when the crash occurred.

Police say that a semi truck driven by a 57 year old Minnesota resident came around a corner and slowed after spotting the tow trucks.

An 18 year old Utah resident who was driving a pickup hauling a trailer reportedly did not see the semi truck’s brake lights. The pickup driver swerved into the passing lane to avoid a collision with the semi and struck the two tow truck operators.

Both tow truck operators, a 28 year old man and a 37 year old man, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The semi truck driver and pickup truck driver were not injured.

Troopers do not suspect that alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, but they say that speed may have played a part.

It is not yet clear whether charges will be filed.

Police have not released the identity of the tow truck operators.

The company that the two men worked for, Billings-based Hanser’s Automotive, issued a plea to the motoring public to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles.

They wrote:

As you may have heard, we experienced a tragedy today that nobody should ever have to experience. Two of our wrecker drivers, whom we dub “rescuers”, went on a two-truck call to respond to an accident blocking traffic on I-90. They were able to safely load one vehicle, but while loading the storage unit that it was towing, our two drivers were senselessly struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle who chose not to heed to our warning signs, emergency responder flashers, and general weather conditions. Accidents happen. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have a business. But the nature of this accident will haunt the families, the coworkers who tried their best to protect them, and all of the loved ones and friends of these two very young men, for the rest of all of our lives. They were dedicated workers, and they were passionate about their families and hobbies. One was a husband and father of five who loved motorcycles and his huge family/ six trillion brothers. And beards. And hoodies. The other was a sweet little soft-spoken guy who was in love with the great outdoors and could have had another 60 years of fishing, bow hunting, and shooting ahead of him.To their families and friends: Our hearts are with you, and we will always cherish and honor the memory of the rescuers who literally lost their lives helping others. To our employees: We have lost our friends, people most of us see almost every single day, and we are here for you. To everyone else: We implore you, PLEASE, please, drive carefully and safely on snowy and icy roads. Don’t try to save two minutes of time by driving faster, don’t pass big trucks in unsafe conditions, and please ALWAYS note hazard signs, emergency flares, lightboard signals from emergency response trucks, speed recommendations, ANYTHING. Because it’s not just for your safety- it’s for ours, too. This never should have happened. We will be posting memorial and fundraising information for these two heroes, who lost their lives being rescuers, soon. Gone only now, but never, ever forgotten.


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