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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

VA Tow Truck Driver Killed On Interstate Saved Customer's Life

An everyday tow hero to the very last. Kudos to WTKR-TV for revealing this side of a very sad story:
Even until the end, friends say, Andy Starmer always put others ahead of himself.

As a tow truck driver Starmer was used to rescuing stranded drivers.

But last night, his friends say, Starmer did more than that - he actually saved his customer's life.

Clarence Patrick, who was Starmer's boss at Superior Towing adds, "His last words were to tell the motorist that he needed to go to the other side of truck because it was dangerous out there and he would appreciate him standing to the side of the truck."

Just as the customer moved away from traffic Police say William Burns lost control of his truck and hit Starmer. Starmer died at the scene. The Newport News resident would have turned 37 this week.

Clarence Patrick says being a tow truck driver has its risks, but he says it's something Stramer loved to do.

Starmer was known for being extremely careful when working on the interstate. They say he always followed the rules, like using the appropriate gear. Patrick says last night was not any different.

Patrick adds, "There is no way this should have happened. He did everything he possibly could, to make sure that nothing happened."

And now as his family and those he worked with deal with their grief, Patrick says everyone should take this as a lesson learned: Every time you see a tow truck driver along the side of the road give him plenty of room.

Patrick adds, "When that guy comes by to tow your car for a flat tire or something. He's basically in the line of traffic putting his life on the line. He really is."

Police say Burns is still hospitalized with critical injuries. He has been charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. The commonwealth's attorney's office will examine the police report and determine whether those charges will be increased to manslaughter.

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