Fairground event to pay tribute to fallen first responders

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


George Moore vividly remembers the day that his tow truck was rear-ended while trying to assist a motorist?s vehicle from the ditch on a cold and icy winter day.

Moore, a highly recognized Washington tow driver, described going to the call after completing the extraction of another vehicle. The vehicle from the first accident was on his flatbed truck as he braved the icy conditions to get to the location on Highway 218. A sheriff?s deputy was sitting on the side of the road with lights flashing. Moore pulled in with his turn signal and lights on when a vehicle slammed into the back of Moore?s truck at highway speed.

?I had a pair of coveralls with my Kodak camera in my pocket,? Moore remembers. ?The impact broke the camera in my pocket. I was in the process of moving off the road.

?There were three people in the car.?

He said that the driver of the vehicle was uninjured. The front-seat passenger had a broken leg and a broken foot. The back-seat passenger had a broken neck. Help was summoned and Moore remembers being the one to tow the remains of the car away.

Most responders to vehicle accidents will say that there is a goodly amount of danger that comes along with working on the side of the roadway.

To that end, the Spirit Ride, which was formed in 2017 to promote public awareness of the Move Over law will visit Washington on June 12. Moore said that police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians,and tow operators will gather for a ceremony paying tribute to fallen first responders killed on roadways.

He said the event will be held beginning at 10 a.m. at the Washington County Fairgrounds and was scheduled on the same day the Tractorcade will be in Washington, so he is expecting some tractor pilots to attend as well.

The event includes an hour-long presentation featuring the Spirit casket, a custom eight-foot casket painted by wrecker artist Cecil Burrows.

The casket features images of first responders and the dangers they face while working on roadways.