Tow truck drivers concerned for their safety - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Tow truck drivers concerned for their safety

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Steve Johnson is a tow truck driver who was involved in a hit and run accident earlier this month. He was helping a woman who ran out of gas along I-75. Johnson is recovering from his injuries. On Sunday another tow truck driver was hit along the turnpike near I-280. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say Rodney Peacock had just finished pulling a car onto the shoulder when another car slid out of control and hit it. And while it may seem like common sense tow truck drivers say accidents like this happen all too often and they worst thing is that most are easily preventable. The driver we rode along with says he takes a lot of precautions, like parking his rig a certain way and facing traffic as he works. He says the problem is that he obviously can't make sure drivers are paying close attention to what he's doing. He wasn't surprised to hear about the two drivers being hit.

Steve Johnson's life changed in an instant, "They have no explanation why I lived. The only conditions I have are 6 broken vertebrae and severe bruising. I mean who gets hit by a semi and then is walking in 3 days,I don't know." Johnson was the victim of a hit and run after stopping his tow truck to help someone. He says the hospital staff told him he should have died from the impact, let alone the loss of blood, "Something felt like it literally threw me to the ground but something saved my life. I believe it's my guardian angel."

Lonnie Zervos has been driving a tow truck for about 15 years, "I have never been hit, but I have had a couple close calls. Another driver and I always say we're dodging 80,000 pound bullets on the expressway and that's basically what you're doing. What's the biggest problem with people? Not paying attention. They're focused on cell phones, radios things like that." Because of that Zervos is proactive when he's towing a vehicle, "When I am hooking up I do not have my back to traffic I always face traffic. It's something I've always practiced that way I can see what the traffic is doing. I also try to position the truck where it protects me but even with that I once had a guy come by within a foot of me, he shouldn't have been there."

While police search for the driver who hit Johnson, he is thankful for his second chance, "I was afraid I would just lay there and bleed to death. To be with my family and my grandson I'm very happy."  There is a law in Ohio and a number of other states that says when there are any kind of emergency vehicles on the berm, move over or slow down. In fact, there are a number of signs on roads around our region reminding you of the law.

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