“Spirit Ride” pushes for more drivers to move over, slow down for first responders

OKLAHOMA CITY - We're often reminded to move over and slow down for law enforcement and fire officials on our busy roadways - but what about another critical group of first responders?

We're talking about tow truck drivers.
According to AAA Oklahoma, on average, a tow truck driver dies every six days.

On Tuesday in Oklahoma City, some streets featured a procession of first responders - escorting an empty casket.

This group gathering to honor those who've lost their lives along the side of the road - in hopes of preventing future tragedy.
That's the purpose of the Spirit Ride procession and ceremony.
They are held across the country - in order to urge drivers to move over and slow down when they see first responders - including tow truck drivers - on the side of the road.
For those in Oklahoma - it's a mission that hits close to home.

"I don`t know him, but he`s my brother," said Bryan Hull, owner of Oklahoma Towing & Recovery. "I don't know him, but he's one of my employees."

The towing community in our state mourned the loss of one of their own this year.
In January, 43-year-old Jonathan Taylor was working in Rogers County when he was hit by semi.

It's a danger many face every day.
Alan Sanders works for ODOT now but before that he spent decades with the Midwest City Fire Department.
He spent a lot of time on the busy I-40/Air Depot corridor.

"It was a very treacherous place to work," Sanders said.

During that time - he had many close calls and remembers the thoughts that rushed through his mind.

"Am I gonna make it home? What's my family gonna think?" Sanders recalled.

House Majority Floor Leader John Echols has been working with this tight-knit group of tow truck drivers - hoping to help provide a safer workspace.

"We will be filing legislation to include tow truck drivers in that `scoot over` law as a first responder, as something else - because we cannot continue down the path that we are on," said Echols.

Protecting what law enforcement and fire officials alike call a critical group.

The Spirit Ride started near 6th and Ann Arbor and ended at the former Plaza Mayor building.