Tow truck driver killed over Thanksgiving weekend was working last shift

Danny Ray Hand
Danny Ray Hand

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The man accused of hitting and killing a tow truck driver over the weekend went before a Hillsborough County judge Monday morning.

Leandro Corrales Perez, 30, was given a $100,000 bond. He’s charged with DUI manslaughter.

Family members of the victim, Danny Ray Hand, talked Monday about the horrific crash that took their brother’s life. “He was just a big … teddy bear; that’s all I can say and I can’t believe this,” Diane Hand Dean said.

Dean, Hand’s sister, cried as she told News Channel 8 her brother was working his last weekend shift before he was killed. She said he had resigned from Crockett’s Towing and Recovery two weeks ago and was set to turn in his keys Sunday morning. She said he was asked to work the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as his last shift.

“It was Danny’s last day at work,” his sister said.

The crash occurred Sunday morning in the southbound lanes of I-275, south of Fowler Ave. According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Hand, of New Port Richey, was parked, with all the caution lights activated, on the outside shoulder. He wasstanding as he assisted a disabled motorist. That’s when authorities say another driver, identified as Corrales Perez, of Tampa, lost control of his car and struck Hand.

Troopers say Corrales Perez was impaired when he hit Hand.

Hand was pronounced dead at the scene.

He’s the third tow truck driver killed this year in the Tampa Bay area. Dean said her brother helped out when tow truck driver Roger Perez Borroto died on the Howard Frankland in February.

“Danny was sad about that. He said, It’s terrible; nobody will move over for you.’ And he said, ‘I get further over, so I’m out of the way,’” the sister recalled.

Omer Duncan was hit in May, while working a crash on the Howard Frankland. “I feel sorry for the families that’s left behind. I want to find the family to hug them all because after what I’ve been through, what they’re going through is even twice as worse,” Duncan said.

His severe injuries kept him out of work.

Now that he’s back on the road, he prays drivers will take heed. “We’re out there to do everything we can for you and everybody else,” Duncan said. “Uust remember, it could be your loved one that needs help.”

While out on bond, Corrales Perez is not allowed to drink alcohol or visit any establishment that serves alcohol. He cannot drive a vehicle and must wear a GPS bracelet.

“There needs to be tougher laws for people like that,” Dean said Monday.

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