CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A man has been charged after he hit and killed a tow truck driver in Canajoharie in October.
Tom Brennan knows what it’s like to be working on the side of a highway. He’s been in that position several times as the owner of T&T Towing in Cohoes.
“They come by you within, literally, inches,” he said.
Unfortunately, some vehicles get too close. On October 10, James Homkey was assisting a disabled car on the Thruway when he was hit and killed by a tractor trailer. He was a tow truck driver for M.W. Roosevelt and Son.
“To lose your brother like that on the side of the highway – that was preventable,” Brennan said.
The driver of the tractor trailer, 41-year-old Alexandro Perez, was charged with Failure to Move Over-Hazardous Vehicle and Unreasonable Speed for Special Hazards.
The owner of M.W. Roosevelt and Son responded with a statement:
It’s a sad day for everybody.
The tickets that were issued to Perez are related to the Move Over Law, which states drivers must change lanes when approaching emergency, construction and garbage crews on the side of the road.
To Brennan, though, the penalties for violating the law by hitting or killing someone aren’t enough.
“That it becomes a felony or at least a misdemeanor, so there’s some teeth into it,” he said. “Or maybe a minimum fine of $500, so when people think about, ‘Oh my God, I better move over cause that’s gonna hit my pocketbook.'”
But Brennan understands that local highways can become congested, and it’s not always possible to move over. So, he says, to at least slow down.
“I want to go home to my wife at the end of the night as well as all these other people want to go home, too, so we’re just asking people just to respect our lives when you see us out there,” he said.
Brennan also said statistics state one tow truck driver is killed every six days in the United States.
The cause of the accident that killed Homkey remains under investigation.