OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The family of Bernardo Martinez is still desperately searching for answers nearly three years after the tow truck driver was hit and killed along Interstate 44 on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.
On July 8, 2020, Bernardo Martinez was loading a truck onto a wrecker one mile east of Fletcher when he was hit by another vehicle and thrown into a ditch, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Martinez died at the scene of the crash, leaving behind a wife, four children and two grandchildren.
“His body was destroyed [in the crash], he was torn apart and [he] died alone on the side of the road,” said his wife, Mayra Martinez.
In a recent interview with KFOR, the family said they continued to press the Comanche County District’s Attorney for answers and updates after the crash but were shocked to learn the case was closed before any charges filed.
“The district attorney from Comanche County had declined to press any charges on the woman that killed him; she’s free, not even a ticket,” said Martinez.
“The [District Attorney’s office] told us that there’s no money [to] do any more investigations and if we found any more evidence we could take it to [them] and [they] would reopen the case. But we have to do the work,” she continued.
According to AAA, two emergency responders are struck and killed every month by drivers on the roads.
The Oklahoma Senate just approved the Bernardo-Mills Law, aimed at bringing greater accountability for drivers who endanger emergency workers by failing to slow down or move over for stopped emergency vehicles, by establishing a fine schedule based on the structure of current state laws and penalties for exceeding the speed limit in a construction zone.
“Too often, our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck operators and other responders are put in harm’s way while responding to emergencies on Oklahoma’s roadways,” said Sen. Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah, in a release.
“We want to ensure they can do their job safely, and by drivers slowing down and being more attentive, we hope to see less accidents, injuries and deaths of our selfless first responders.”
“There needs to be a consequence … something, so it will make an impact and make a difference,” said Mayra.
“We [still] have a lot of questions that are not answered…its not fair,” she added.