Tow truck drivers roll through Berks with message for others

'We have families, too,' driver says

Tow truck driver Will Arndt has memories of playing on the living room floor and riding shotgun with his dad.

"Ever since I was little, I had a passion for tow trucks," Arndt said. "Toys, my father had a tow truck and I'd ride around with him."

But following a "spirit ride" that took a symbolic casket through parts of Berks County on Thursday, he has something else on his mind.

"It's an eerie feeling to think that it could be your friend, your neighbor, one of your own," Arndt explained.

What's the scariest part of the job?

"Changing a tire on 222," said Pablo Matos of Matos Towing. "You can definitely feel it. You're always ready to run under your truck."

The ride had more meaning following the death of a tow truck operator on Route 222 in Lancaster County earlier this month. Authorities said the operator and the driver of a disabled vehicle were struck and killed by another car.

"I was part of that funeral," said Ron Bressler, the president of the Pennsylvania Towing Association. "It's a tragic scenario and we don't want that to happen to anyone else."

The "steer clear" law requires drivers to put at least a lane between them and emergency response vehicles. Has it helped?

"With more and more distractions from electronic devices and everything else," Bressler said, "I think it's actually getting worse."

Operators like Pablo Matos said they hope the moving message gets through.

"We have families, too, that we want to come home to."

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