More than 100 tow truck and flatbed carriers from across San Diego County came together Saturday to honor a beloved fellow tow truck driver, killed when a suspected drunk driver struck him on the side of a highway.
Fred Griffith, 55, an employee of RoadOne San Diego, was struck and killed on the side of State Route 52 on Feb. 23.
The suspected drunk driver, Michael Gilbert Gray, 48, is facing multiple charges in his death. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. After Gray struck Griffith, he fled the scene, prosecutors say, but an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer saw the crash and pulled him over.
On Saturday morning, a tow truck and emergency vehicle procession started from RoadOne Towing on Chesapeake Drive to honor Griffith.
Trucks rolled out of the lot with headlights, four-way flashers and amber lights on as they headed down Ruffin Road toward State Route 52 eastbound.
The procession will continue up over the Mission Trails Summit, past the crash site, and mid-way up the summit between Santos Road and Mast Boulevard.
Gray, a single father of three boys and beloved tow truck driver, was loved by many in the community during his more than 20 years in the industry.
Organizers of the event say Griffith was known throughout Southern California as a safety instructor who taught tow truck safety to fellow drivers.
They hope the procession will help raise awareness for California's "Slow Down, Move Over" law. According to the Federal National Traffic Incident Management Program, a tow operator's job is listed as being one of the nation's deadliest.
"His death underlines the dangers that tow operators face every day," said a statement from event organizers. "We’re asking that San Diego’s motorists’ slow-down and move-over so to give towers and all first responders the room to help motorists in peril."
Those who see the procession on the roads are asked to be alert and patient, as the procession will be slow moving.
Those who would like to donate to the family can do so by clicking here.