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Tow truck procession remembers driver killed, demands safety on roads

Father, friend and tow truck driver Joe Masterson was killed by a semi-truck in February while working to tow a vehicle on the shoulder of I-5.

TACOMA, Wash. — Hundreds of tow trucks drove in a procession Sunday to honor the life of Joe Masterson, a beloved father, friend and driver hit and killed in February. They also called for safer driving behavior, including the simple message to drive slow and move over.

Justin Kemp-Waldner, Vice President of Fife Towing, worked with Masterson for years and knew him as one of the happiest guys around.

"Joe was a passionate guy, he was an honest guy, a friendly guy, a dependable guy, he was just a salt of the earth person," Kemp-Waldner said. "Loved his job, loved his family, loved his friends, and just generally had a caring nature about him."

Kemp-Waldner said it is a tragic loss for his agency and the entire driving community. Drivers from across the state and beyond traveled miles to meet up for the procession, which they hope will spread awareness to all drivers on the road.

"The biggest thing you can do is just, give us all some space," Kemp-Waldner said. "The police agencies, the fire departments, the towing agency, we're depending on everyone else to give us that space because we can only do so much- the lights, reflective vests, trucks- they only do so much. Everybody else, we're really at their mercy."

Kitsap & Chico Towing was one of the companies there to show support. After recent fatalities, they decided to start adding truck mounted attenuators (TMAs) to their vehicles. They rolled out their first one this week ahead of the procession, and plan to add more.

"They are advanced warning to a work zone and they are work zone protection," Dave Bryant said.

While they'd like to see the state help more towing agencies get access to the devices, they say it's also important for everyone on the road to do their part. 

"Slow down, move over," Jaci Bryant said. "These are our people. They want to go home. They love what they're doing but can't do it if they don't go home alive."

There is a memorial fund set up in Masterson's honor here

Pierce County said it is still investigating whether charges will be filed in the case.

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