Bay Area roads can be a dangerous place, just ask any driver who commutes in and around Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Can you imagine having to work along those roadsides? Tow truck drivers and Road Rangers do it everyday.
This past year, three tow truck drivers have lost their lives alongside Tampa Bay highways.
In November, a driver for Crockett's Towing and Recovery, was assisting a disabled motorist when authorities a driver lost control of his vehicle and struck him. Danny Ray Hand was killed even though he was correctly parked with caution lights activated on the outside shoulder where he was standing. The driver that struck him was identified as 30-year-old Leandro Corrales Perez of Tampa. Perez was charged with DUI Manslaughter and is awaiting trial while monitored by GPS.
In October, several tow truck drivers responded to an accident on I-75 near Big Bend Road. Troy McGuire was those drivers. Law enforcement officials say that Gregory Miller stuck and killed McGuire alongside the interstate. Miller was charged with DUI Manslaughter and other charges. He is out on bond awaiting trial.
In February, Rogelio Perez-Borroto, a two truck driver who responded to a crash on the Howard Frankland Bridge, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. The suspect vehicle was found on the Tampa side of the bridge abandoned. The Tampa Police Department later identified and arrested Allison Huffman as the driver. She was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and other charges. She is currently being held at the Hillsborough County Jail on a bond of $750,000.
The State of Florida Department of Transportation operates the Road Ranger program so that no motorist will ever have to face being stranded beside those "mean" streets alone.
According to the FDOT, the Road Ranger Mission is to provide free highway assistance services during incidents (aka: accidents or other breakdown) to reduce delay and improve safety for the motoring public and responders.
Look at that next interstate accident. You will see often see that it's a Road Ranger vehicle strategically placed in the rear with traffic arrows directing vehicles to "Move Over."
If you are that stranded motorist, call *FHP and you'll soon see at Road Ranger in the rearview mirror.
Those Road Rangers do everything from providing fuel to a stranded motorist to making lane closures and redirecting traffic for major incidents.
According to the FDOT, since the program's inception in the year 2000, the Road Rangers have made over 4.3 million service assists with more occurring daily. The FDOT website states that the Road Rangers' roving vehicles patrol congested areas and high incident locations of the urban freeway and are equipped, at a minimum, with the following equipment to assist as needed:
2 Ton Jacks
5 Gallons of Sand
First Aid Kits
Flashing Arrow Board
Public Address System
Basic repair tools
The Road Ranger Service Patrol is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation and its partners. It is a free service to motorists stranded within coverage areas.
As we close out 2016, thank those who help others. Be extra thankful for those who put themselves in harms way in order to do so.
For Road Ranger assistance in and around Tampa and St. Petersburg highways dial *347 (*FHP).