Local tow truck companies, police, and EMS joined in the national Spirit Ride last Friday when it arrived in Penn Township. Sponsored locally by Gombach Towing, representatives of the first-responders groups participated in the program to remind motorists of the Slow Down, Move Over law.
The Move Over law is often ignored and seemingly unknown to many motorists. The law exists in all states and requires passing vehicles to move over one lane when approaching an incident where tow operators, police, fire fighters, and EMS people are working.
The Spirit Ride is relaying a ceremonial casket by car carrier across the nation and back. About 300 towing companies across the U.S. are contributing their services to the Spirit Ride to promote safe driving and the Slow Down, Move Over law.
Tow trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars from Penn Township, Murrysville, Jeannette, and Manor, joined in the service which was held at Penn-Trafford High School. They then formed a caravan traveling through Penn Township to Murrysville, then Monroeville and on to Pittsburgh.
The ceremonial casket, named Spirit, was custom built by a carpenter who is also a lifelong singer-songwriter (Mike Corbin) who composed the Spirit Ride’s anthem. The casket was custom painted by an artist (Cecil Burrowes) who specialized in painting trucks and wreckers.
The colorful ceremonial casket, called Spirit, is at eight feet, a stretch farther than a standard casket. Painted on it are a dozen scenarios depicting first-responders at the scenes of highway incidents.
While promoting public awareness of the Move Over laws the Spirit Ride at the same time honors first responders who’ve ben killed by passing vehicles. Hundreds of roadside professionals are causalities each year of roadside incidents; about 100 of them are killed. Among police, fire, EMS, and towing professionals, 60% of those killed are tow operators.
Article originally printed in the Monday, June 19, 2017 issue of the Penn Trafford News (Volume 47, number 97. ISSN 894100)