'They want to get home, too': Local towing service owner reminds drivers to move over

Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 22:39:23-05

NORFOLK, Va. — For three days straight, a different law enforcement car was hit every day this week.

State Police are reminding people that it's the law to move over.

“It’s not a good feeling having a car whip by you at 70 miles per an hour and feeling that wind just in your body," said Tim Tharp.

It’s a scary reality for Tharp, who runs Able Towing Service in Norfolk.

“The hotspot right now in Norfolk is [Interstate]-64 eastbound and 264; we are up there daily.”

They’re assisting police and removing disabled vehicles from the side of the road.

“When you’re up there working on the shoulder, people come by and they are not looking at the road or us - they are looking at their cellphones. That is what’s causing the accidents,” he explained.

State Police say from Sunday, February 16 to Tuesday, February 18, three law enforcement cars were hit by drivers who weren’t paying attention.

The first incident was in King George, the second in Stafford and the third in Rockbridge County.

Tharp says he isn't surprised.

“With tow truck drivers, it happens every few days,” he said.

He says last year alone, about 60 wrecker drivers died nationwide while helping a driver.

“When my father was running the business, he’s been hit twice,” Tharp remembered. “He got hit on Northampton [Boulevard] and on Ballentine [Boulevard].”

In video from the Virginia Department of Transportation, one of Tharp’s drivers is seen putting a car on the wrecker Friday on I-64 near Northampton Boulevard.

You can see cars speeding by and not moving over.

Police say when you’re driving and you see that emergency vehicle ahead of you and you don’t have time to move over, the next best thing to do is slow down.

“I don’t think people understand that these wrecker drivers have a kid, a spouse - they want to get home, too.”

If you see any emergency vehicle with flashing lights – whether white, orange, blue or red – move over. It’s the law.