SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The funeral for a fallen tow truck driver was held in Springfield today and well over 100 tow trucks from around the region participated in a procession honoring Timothy Williams. Williams was hit and killed on Feb. 7 north of Springfield while working to tow a vehicle on Highway 65.
Williams was 55 years old, and his untimely death has been a reminder of just how crucial the “Move Over” law is in Missouri.
The “Move Over” law requires drivers to yield to emergency vehicles working on the shoulder or side of the road by switching into a different lane to allow for more space or slowing down.
Highway Patrol stresses the law’s importance and those with Affordable Towing who lost one of their own.
When Williams was hit and killed by a driver around 8:30 at night, Affordable Owner Dennis Cleveland says since then it has been tough for his staff to cope with.
“It’s put a lot of pressure on everybody really in the whole business,” Cleveland said. “Not only the drivers, but the dispatchers. It’s been pretty tough on them emotionally. A couple of the drivers wouldn’t drive for a couple of days. They said they were just too torn up, and I said, ‘Just take a couple of days and it’ll get better.'”
The lives of tow truck drivers and other emergency responders depend on the public, and they put trust in drivers to obey Missouri’s “Move Over” law.
“Sometimes our motorists in Missouri break that trust, which happened last week, and it cost somebody their life,” Cleveland said.
Trooper Sam Carpenter with the Highway Patrol explains that people obeying the Move Over law could save more lives. But, another law is in place that drivers should be following at all times on the highway, and it would make the Move Over law easier to obey.
“By state law, you’re required to drive in the right-hand lane unless you’re passing another vehicle,” Carpenter said. “If everybody follows that law, there will always be a safe lane to move over into.”
Michael Phillips has been a tow driver for years in Springfield and notices drivers being careless way too often. And we caught several drivers on camera refusing to give Phillips extra space to operate on Highway 65.
“They’re occupied with whatever is going on in their life, and until they’re the ones out here they don’t realize how dangerous it actually is,” Phillips said. “It doesn’t take but a brief second to slow down and move over, and keep somebody’s life alive.”
Cleveland says he’d like to see law enforcement set up a sting operation of sorts to catch drivers who don’t move over in an effort to raise awareness.