FRESNO, Calif. - A driver hit and killed a tow truck operator who was standing in a lane of traffic on the southbound Hwy. 41 interchange to southbound Hwy. 99 Monday night just before 10 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said.
Sgt. Jeffrey Cipolla with the CHP said the driver did not notice the tow truck on the right hand shoulder and struck the Cadillac being pulled onto the bed of the tow truck, as well as the tow operator.
The driver continued a short ways before stopping, Sgt. Cipolla said. He added the driver who hit the tow operator had a few scratches but was not hospitalized. CHP said drugs and alcohol have been ruled out.
Several people were distraught near the crash site and told Eyewitness News they witnessed the accident. They said they called for a tow truck after one of their tires popped. The witnesses said they did not think the tow truck driver was wearing a safety vest, however, the CHP is still investigating that portion of it.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking for all of us," said Sgt. Cipolla. "We work day in and day out with these tow drivers. They're out there clearing the roads, and putting themselves in harms way just as we are."
The interchange from southbound 41 to southbound 99 was closed while officers investigated.