Friday, August 14, 2009

VA Tow Truck Drivers Pay Tribute/Andy's Last Ride

Here's the story:

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - "This is a day to honor Andy Starmer, our fallen commrade," said Clarence Patrick of Superior Towing.

It was the last ride for Andy Starmer. He lost his life next to his tow truck and on Thursday, his truck got a tow of it's own to Starmer's final resting place in Newport News.

"For a little guy, you couldn't ask for somebody with a bigger heart," said Elliott Winter, a friend of Andy's.

As more than 45 tow trucks, lights flashing and horns blaring, pulled onto Warwick Boulevard the rain started to fall.

"He got us. He rained on us. He got us," said Paul Redman, a friend of Andy's.

Starmer's friends say the drenching was one last joke sent from one of the funniest men they knew.

"He was very cynical and very dry. There was always an underlying and humorous undertone to everything he did. He was a unique individual," said Redman.

Andy lost his life in a tragic accident along I-64 in Newport News. Police say William Burns of Newport News was driving drunk when he lost control and hit Andy head on. The crash took a father away from his 11-year-old son.

"[Andy was] a dedicated father. I mean, oh my God. Most folks don't include their kids on things nowadays. Andy wouldn't do anything without him. William was his world," said Winter.

With flowers mounted to the back of Andy's truck, the towing community said goodbye.

"I guess the good Lord needed a good hand and he's got one now. Andy, I love you my brother. I sure am going to miss you."

In light of Andy's death, all of the tow truck drivers asked to pass along a warning: If you see a tow truck driver working along the side of the road, treat them like any other emergency worker and move over a lane and give them room to do their job safely.

They also beg you to never drink and drive.

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