Tow Truck Driver’s Plea: ‘Move over so I don’t die’

The crash that killed John Hubbard in December of 2016. (Source: WBRC)
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -- On December 10th 2016, a young tow truck driver named John Hubbard was helping a motorist with a flat tire on I-20/59 in Tuscaloosa County.

It was the last call the 25 year old would ever go on.

Hubbard was hit and killed that night as he worked on the side of the road.

Police say Sheridan Temms was speeding when she hit a guardrail and then slammed into the car Hubbard was working on.

On Valentine’s Day, a Tuscaloosa jury acquitted Temms of Criminally Negligent Homicide.

Now Hubbard’s friends, a brotherhood of fellow tow truck drivers, hope his death, will help raise awareness about the dangers of the job, and save other lives.

“All it takes is 3 seconds to lose control of your vehicle from not paying attention but in that 3 seconds a lot can happen,” says Christopher Mann.

Mann has spent 17 years working in towing. Right now, he is a Tow Truck driver for Family Towing and Recovery. “We are out here on a day to day basis trying to do our jobs and the public makes it very difficult by not abiding by the laws of slow down, move over.”

Alabama law states that when any kind of emergency vehicle with flashing lights is stopped on the side of the road, drivers should change lanes or slow down. Something that Mann says would have saved his friend John Hubbard’s life.

“If you can't move over, which we understand, there's a lot of people on the road, slow down to 15 miles below the posted speed limit so that way if something does go wrong with your vehicle you can react to it in a timely manner before you get to us because your mistake could cost us our life,” says Mann.

The year Hubbard died, almost 40 tow truck drivers were killed on the job. Six of those were in Alabama, according to Move Over America. Since his death, hundreds of tow truck drivers have held “Slow down, Move over rallies” in his honor, which they hope will make drivers think twice when they see a tow truck on the side of the road.

“When you see the yellow lights on the trucks, that means we are here working, it’s not something to be ignored,” says Mann.

So far, at least 8 tow truck drivers have been killed nationwide this year alone. On average, one tow truck driver is killed every six days.

“I have to put my life on the line every day being out here on this highway to put food on the table. My daughter is my world, if I didn’t come home to her, she wouldn’t have anybody,” says Mann. “It’s not fair to us, we all have families to go home to just like you do, there’s no sense being in such a big rush to go anywhere. It’s not going to do you any good.”

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