“That’s where I got hit, my dad and I,” said David Vaughn Jr., standing atop an embankment on the side of Rt. 2 and pointing to just west of the Middle Ridge Road exit.
He remembers the crash — both the terror and thousands of dollars in damage — seven years ago. It happened when a distracted driver slammed into the back of his tow truck on the side of the highway.
Vaughn’s D&A Towing wrecker returned to the spot Saturday, his father, David Vaughn Sr. of Vaughn’s Auto Repair, right behind. They sat, lights flashing, at the head of a long line of tow vehicles and police, fire, and EMS trucks.
For hours, traffic was slowed to a crawl in a miles-long line back to the Rt. 58 ramps.
Emergency forces staged a roadside rally in the cold rain to make a point: When you see lights flashing, whether red, blue, or yellow, drivers need to get over and slow down.
After all, it’s the law.
The Ohio Department of Transportation placed a large electronic sign on the shoulder of Rt. 2 to make just that point, reminding motorists that taking steps to protect emergency workers isn’t just a courtesy.
During the rally, there was some action as a rubbernecking passerby hit the tail of another car.
Luckily, the minor crashed happened in exactly the right spot with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Amherst police, and 10 tow trucks from six companies standing by.
Also in the line-up were trucks from the Amherst and South Amherst fire departments, LifeCare Ambulance, and Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.
The event was part of a nationwide movement called Move Over United States, which focused on keeping tow operators safe.
About 50 to 100 tow operators are killed in the U.S. each year, according to the International Towing and Recovery Museum in Tennessee.
“This is important to us,” said the younger Vaughn. “We aren’t asking much, just for people to take our safety seriously. It’s far too easy for us to get hurt out here.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times David Vaughn Jr. points to where his tow truck was hit several years ago on the side of Rt. 2. It was a stone’s throw from where dozens of emergency vehicles staged Saturday in a rally called Move Over United States.