Oklahoma Tow Truck Drivers Hold Moving Tribute For Fellow Operator Killed While On Duty


Wednesday, July 15th 2020, 4:40 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Tow trucks drivers from around Oklahoma held a moving tribute on Wednesday for one of their own who was killed while on the job.

Dozens of operators attended and took part in the funeral procession for Bernardo Martinez, 42, that went from Moore to southwest Oklahoma City. They wanted the public to see them and hear their message.

One by one, they lined Main Street near Eastern Avenue in Moore.

A tight-knit community touched by tragedy, all gathered to pay their final respects for the driver who took his final call last week.

Martinez was on the turnpike near Lawton helping a stranded motorist last Wednesday when a driver hit and killed him.

“I don’t know what the case was, what happened how come the lady drifted off or what the case was,” said Nick Ragsdale, tow truck driver. “Because of that we don’t have Bernard with us here.”

He left behind friends and many loved ones, including a wife, four children and two grandchildren.

“I want people to know that our tow truck drivers aren’t just tow truck drivers,” said Jessica Martinez-Rodriguez. “They are somebody’s father, son, brother, grandfather, uncle.”

Martinez's sister said many drivers are ignoring a law that requires them to “Slow Down and Move Over” when a driver is on the side of the road with flashing lights. She does not want to lose anyone else she loves due to careless drivers.

“Now I have to worry about my brother,” said Martinez-Rodriguez. “I don’t want to get a call that my brother Dominic or get a call about my kids’ father.”

The drivers took the “Slow Down and Move Over” message they fought to pass several years ago to the streets. The long procession carried Martinez's casket from Moore to the cemetery in southwest Oklahoma City. His brother led the way.

“Please respect our drivers,” said Dominic May, brother. “And move over, we have families also.”

Martinez’s family would like to see the fine for drivers not obeying the law increased from $250 to $2,500.