Tow truck driver killed on I-255 ‘should still be here today,’ colleague says

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PRAIRIE DU PONT, Ill. – Black bunting covers the Prairie Du Pont Fire Department building, where Wade Bivins served as a volunteer firefighter.

A car struck and killed Bivins along Interstate 255 while he was working as a tow truck operator. Bivins’ colleague has a message for everyone on the roads.

“His death was 100% unnecessary,” Niki O’Bryan, Paw Paw Towing manager, said. “He should still be here today. He should be in that truck right now. There was no reason for him to die. People need to pay attention when they’re driving and put the phone down. Because somebody didn’t, he doesn’t get to go home to his family, and his family doesn’t get to have him home for the holidays, and it’s not right.”

Bivins had pulled his tow truck over in the southbound lanes of I-255 near Dupo to help a stranded motorist.

“I was contacted by the gentleman that we were doing the towing for,” O’Bryan said. “He told me someone had hit our driver on the highway, and I panicked and immediately headed to the scene, and when I got there, they told me he was deceased.”

Bivins had just celebrated a birthday in October. He was 57.

Paw Paw Towing says they believe Bivins was getting a strap out of this toolbox to secure the rear of the vehicle. That’s when another driver in a Ford pickup truck hit Bivins.

Bivins was a father and grandfather who loved talking about his family.

“He was great and funny. I loved hearing his stories. He had so many stories about towing and life and his kids and grandkids,” O’Bryan said. “He was a great person to be around. He always had a positive attitude. Even with towing, if he had a car that had a ball joint broken, or wheel sitting underneath it, and he’d say, ‘I’m going to be here for a while, but I’ll get it done.’ He’d get it done, no matter what.”

In Missouri, tow truck operators are allowed to run red and blue lights. But in Illinois, it’s amber only. Niki O’Bryan wants more support from law enforcement to pull over and put their red and blue lights on when tow trucks are pulled over helping drivers.

She adds she would like to see more fines for drivers that don’t change lanes and give tow trucks more room on the highway when pulled over.

“He made a very big mistake that was 100% preventable if he’d been paying attention, and he needs to be punished for that mistake,” O’Bryan said.

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