On Saturday afternoon, tow truck driver Shaun Riddle got the call from AAA to help a disabled SUV that had stalled just west of the train tracks in Cardiff.
It was just after he had loaded the SUV onto the flatbed tow truck that Riddle was killed by an oncoming Amtrak train.
The manager of Towex, the local towing company that employed Riddle, learned of the tragic crash from one of the company’s dispatchers.
“She was just hysterical,” said TJ Gan. “She's like 'I gotta calm down to get this out, but I think Shaun got killed by a train.'”
A passerby captured the crash on video. NBC 7 San Diego has chosen not to show the full video because the impact of the crash is too disturbing to watch.
In the video, it appears 27-year-old Riddle attempted to run from the train but it was already too late.
“He was just trying to help people out and not really thinking about himself,” Gan said. “He didn't think about his own safety, just thinking about getting those people and their car out of the way.”
On Monday, workers at Towex felt an emptiness at the yard.
“You can definitely feel that there's something missing,” Gan said.
Gan said the company has received hundreds of phone calls from strangers offering condolences and financial help for Riddle’s wife and the couple’s one-year-old daughter.
“I can't even express how awesome it feels to have so much support from people that don't know him or know us,” he said.
To donate to Shaun Riddle's family, please visit any Bank of America and deposit into "Shaun Riddle Memorial Fund"
Or mail donations to:
5560 Eastgate Mall #A
San Diego CA 92121
Make payable to "Shaun Riddle Memorial Fund."