MILTON, Wash. — A state investigation into a crash that killed a tow truck operator in February has found the causing driver was not impaired as originally suspected.
Joe Masterson, 49, died after being struck by a semi-truck on Interstate 5 in Milton on Feb. 15. Masterson was in the process of towing a box truck on the freeway shoulder when a semi-truck veered toward him and hit him, according to Washington State Patrol.
In the months since the crash, no charges have b
een filed, WSP Trooper Robert Reyer said Friday. There was also nothing in the driving record that indicated negligence or reckless driving.
At the time of the crash, the 65-year-old driver of the FedEx semi-truck that hit Masterson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. However, the driver was released while the investigation was ongoing.
Masterson worked for Fife Service & Towing for six years. He was also a father of four, according to the towing company.
After Masterson’s death, other tow truck operators held a vigil to honor him. The group also pushed for tougher “move over” laws, which require drivers to merge away from an emergency or work zone on the freeway or slow down if they can’t get over.
Traffic deaths on Washington state roadways hit a 20-year high last year with 663 fatalities reported, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Preliminary data for 2022 indicates the trend will continue to increase, with more deaths in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time last year.