Tow truck driver killed on the job
WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. -- Family members gathered at the scene where a tow truck driver was struck and killed while on the job.
According to police, 58-year-old Nelson Hernandez was getting out of his tow truck to help a motorist when he was struck and killed by a white van on Sunday, just after 11 p.m.
The accident happened in the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near the Flagler Street exit.
Hernandez's son said he wants more federal guidelines and laws to be enforced. "We don't need another tragedy. These highways cost too many lives each year," said Lazaro Hernandez.
Authorities said the driver, who allegedly struck the victim, initially drove away after the accident but later returned.
Two years ago, tow truck driver Vincent Torres died on the Don Shula Expressway. In Tennessee, the Wall of the Fallen was built four years ago to honor those drivers who were killed on duty.
Truck driver Paul Verones has witnessed danger firsthand. "People drift over, and I've caught them early, and I'm watching and watching, and they're drifting and drifting. Then, they come right up on you," said Verones.
Ramon Crego has 14 trucks and 17 drivers under his care and makes safety his top priority. "We are standing on traffic where people are going 70 miles an hour. You guys need to slow down and pay attention to those lights," said Crego.
According to the Tow Truck Association of America, an on-duty operator is killed, on average, every six days, and more than sixty operators die each year. "I'm pretty sure he's looking at me saying, 'I rather it to happen to me than to you guys,'" said Lazaro Hernandez.
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