HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State Police has charged a Florida man in a hit-and-run crash that critically injured a tow truck driver.
Robert Lee Longnecker, 85, of Panama City, Fla., is charged with one felony count of hit-and-run and reckless driving.
The incident happened April 20 at about 5:20 p.m. on Interstate 95, just north of Parham Road.
According to state police, the tow truck driver was assisting a disabled RV on the right shoulder when he was struck by a vehicle. The vehicle did not stop, and may have continued northbound I-95 or took the exit to I-295.
The tow truck driver was transported to the hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
After a follow-up investigation, Longnecker was arrested and transported to Henrico County Jail, where he was released on his own recognizance.
The incident remains under investigation.
This hit-and-run crash, once again, brought into question the safety and protection of tow truck drivers. In February, 8News spoke with a tow truck driver who says he puts his life on the line when responding to crashes. Yet the statewide ‘Move Over’ law that protects first responders and police officers excludes tow truck drivers.
“We are this close to death every time we are on the side of the road loading somebodies car and it’s very, very disturbing,” said Bruce Eagle, of Eagle Towing.
He says drivers have to start looking out and moving over for tow truck drivers the same way they do emergency crews because incidents continue to happen.
“Give us that extra lane of protection,” Eagle said. “You wouldn’t want a 70 mile per an hour vehicle passing your desk, inches from your chair. Please, give us the room; slow down and move over.”