On February 22 around 12:45 p.m., Tyler Cosper with Angelo Towing was the victim of a hit and run while on the job.
Cosper was in the process of unloading a Dodge 1500 on N. Pierce and Freeland.
The tow truck was parked horizontally across the narrow road. The Dodge was in the process of being lowered into a residential driveway, suspended in the air without attachments.
During this time, a woman driving a silver Dodge Avenger attempted to go forward by driving behind the tow truck into a neighboring yard.
Cosper stepped in between his truck and the Avenger and alerted the driver that it was unsafe for her to move past the truck in this manner and that the vehicle being unloaded could come down and cause serious damage at any time.
The DPS requires that two truck drivers attach two straps and two chains minimum before being able to move safely. At this point in the event, it would have taken Cosper longer to attach everything and move out of the way than it would have for him to finish unloading the vehicle in the air.
Cosper informed the driver of this but still she refused to back up and move away from the truck, stating that her 19-year old daughter was in labor.
The woman revved her vehicle at Cosper and stated “I’m not kidding.”
He told the Avenger driver that he was legally not allowed to let her pass that way and she would have to travel by another route.
The woman driving the Avenger accelerated her vehicle and hit Cosper so that his right knee inverted backwards.
Cosper screamed in pain and called 9-1-1 to alert them to the situation.
At this point, the woman backed up and drove away.
It took the police approximately 36 minutes to arrive on the scene and when they did, there was no sense of urgency or concern for Cosper’s well-being.
A report was filed about the incident but was labeled as a “civil dispute.” It has since been handed off to a detective, who informed Cosper that it will be a lengthy process before the situation can be rectified.
Cosper was taken to the hospital and upon seeing a specialist, was told that fluid is surrounding his knee. This could be the result of a ligament tear but more tests will need to be ran.
He has limited mobility in his knee, walks with a limp, faces medical debt that is continuing to build and could possibly need surgery.
This is the third incident that Cosper has been involved with in his five and a half years on the job.
According to his training, Cosper was told that tow truck drivers are involved in accidents at least once every three days.
Cosper also stated that he lost his best friend and fellow tow truck driver, Scott Bowers, a few years ago when a minivan driver was texting and driving, hit Bowers, amputating both legs upon impact and drug him behind the vehicle. Bowers was pronounced dead at the scene after 20 years in the industry and left behind a wife and daughter.
About six years ago, tow trucks were classified as emergency vehicles. Drivers wear high visibility clothing, use traffic cones and their vehicles are equipped with flashing amber lights. However, clearly incidents are still occurring.
“There is only so much we can do.” Cosper said. “I want drivers to know that I would like to go home and see my family at the end of the day and I can’t do that if other drivers are complacent. Please pay attention and slow down.”