Tow truck drivers gathered along a roadway in New York on Thursday night as a form of protest against dropping charges for a motorist that killed a fellow tow truck driver last year.
76-year-old Richard Congel fatally struck tow truck driver Irael Martinez nearly a year ago while under the influence of four drugs. Congel was initially facing impaired driving charges, but a prosecutor has since decided to drop the charges because Congel was also diagnosed to have a brain tumor. The prosecutor says that the brain tumor makes it impossible to prove that the drugs impaired Congel’s driving. Congel will be allowed to plead failure to pull over, which carries no jail time, reported Syracuse News.
After hearing the decision, a group of 13 tow trucks decided to gather along the Onondaga Lake Parkway near where Irael was hit on Thursday night, February 10th, as a way to protest the decision. The tow truck drivers also put on their lights and set out flares as a way to remind passing motorists to move-over when they see a tow truck on the side of the roadway.
“I just sat there at first and was so angry,” said Joe Britton, a tow truck driver who participated in the demonstration.
“I definitely had some tears for the family… There needs to be an education system… about how important it is to slow down and move over.”
“Hopefully some passersby can see that there is an injustice happening for the Martinez family,” he added.