Tow truck drivers remember comrade killed by suspected drunk driver

Co-workers and friends honored tow truck driver Danny Ray Hand on Saturday.
Co-workers and friends honored tow truck driver Danny Ray Hand on Saturday.

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) — As the family of Danny Ray Hand held a private memorial service Saturday, his co-workers and friends remembered him in their own way with a Memorial Ride in his honor.

Dozens of drivers brought their wreckers to participate in a processional down Interstate-275 where Hand was hit and killed the Saturday after Thanksgiving by a suspected drunk driver. According to Hand’s sister, he was working his last shift in the dangerous job when he was hit.

“When you lose somebody especially a coworker that happens to be like a family member to you, it’s a big loss,” said Michael Locantore, of Crockett’s Towing where Hand worked. “He was very genuine very honest, very good guy, would go out of his way, give the shirt off his back, ask him to do anything, he would do it for you and he volunteered for anything,” said Locantore.

While many of the drivers in the memorial run were co-workers of Hand, many didn’t know him personally at all. However they are tied by the dangerous job they shared. “It is a dangerous job we take our life in our own hands just like other enforcements that do on the road jobs,” said Locantore.

While the ride was about remembering and honor Hand, many of the drivers are filled with anger and frustration. Hand was the third tow truck driver killed on Tampa Bay roads this year.

“There’s more wrecker operators killed in the line of duty in a year than all of those other agencies combined and something needs to be done about it,” said Steve Stickley at Crockett’s Towing.

“I think it needs to be enforced more, whether we have troopers behind us on the interstates when we load vehicles,” said Stickley about the move over law.

The tow truck drivers are hoping they can raise awareness, so drivers will respect their lives and understand the move over law applies to them as well as law enforcement.

“He was one of those jovial kind of guys,” said Stickley about Hand.

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Co-workers and friends honored tow truck driver Danny Ray Hand on Saturday.

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