Tow truck driver struck and killed by snow plow in Arnprior
Police have identified a tow truck driver who was struck and killed by a snow plow on Monday in Arnprior as a 33-year-old man from Ottawa.
The man was struck on the westbound Highway 417 under the White Lake Road overpass around 12:25 p.m.
Police say a westbound snow plow struck the tow truck operator while he was helping another driver. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Tuesday, OPP identified him as Phillip Smith of Ottawa. A statement from Fraser’s Towing and Recovery in Arnprior said he was a father of two.
“He was a loving father of two young children and will be missed deeply by his family,” the statement said.
"He was just at the end of an on ramp. Plow was plowing and he was winching, and something happened, they didn't see one another," said Tom Hanniman, owner of Dwaine's Towing. "I've had guys drive by cars in the ditch yesterday because they couldn't see them because the visibility was that bad. So that tells you, if you can't see from the road to the fence, how are you going to see traffic in front of you?"
The statement also implored people to slow down and move over when they see emergency lights on the road.
“It’s extremely important that people slow down and move over when they see any emergency lights,” the statement said. “We are all out there just trying to help everyone as safely as we can but everyone needs to help out when it comes to seeing emergency lights. Unfortunately this gets ignored on a daily basis.”
Gary Vandenheuvel, a representative for the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario says, "In North America every six days there is a tow operator either stuck and injured or stuck and killed. Every six days.
"It's a case of slow down, move over. When you see these lights, a tow truck on the side of the road or any flashing lights you need to get over and you need to slow down, especially in those conditions."
The highway was closed for several hours for the police investigation. The Ministry of Labour is also investigating the crash.
Monday’s blizzard saw a record 48 centimetres of snow dumped on Ottawa, with similar snowfall levels across the region.
"I feel for the family more than anything because you've got to go home to somebody, but he's not going home," Hanniman said. "It affects everybody. All tow truck drivers are like a big family, you know. And you know most of the people in the valley too."