A crash between a semi truck and a tow truck near Penhold late Wednesday night has left one person dead.
Innisfail RCMP said a semi truck collided with the back of a stopped tow truck on Highway 2, south of Highway 42, at about 11 p.m.
The semi hit the back of the tow truck, which was stopped at the side of the highway to load a vehicle.
The driver of the semi truck was unable to get out of the vehicle, which caught fire. The 62-year-old driver was declared dead at the scene.
The tow truck driver was outside his vehicle at the time of the collision. Both the tow truck driver, and the driver of the vehicle that required assistance, were not injured. The tow truck had major damage.
The Alberta Motor Association said the tow truck operator was contracted by the association.
“Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of everyone affected by this devastating loss,” the AMA said in a statement.
“This is a deeply tragic reminder of the ongoing importance of roadside safety – a responsibility we all share. The protection of Alberta drivers, and roadside workers alike, will continue to be a top priority for AMA.”
The collision remains under investigation, including the cause of the crash.
Traffic was diverted throughout the early morning on Thursday while an RCMP analyst worked and crews removed collision debris.
Geoff Tagg, of Tagg’s Extreme Towing and Recovery of Penhold, said getting hit is what tow truck drivers fear every time they are called out to the highway.
“There’s always close calls. People who refuse to pay attention to anything on the road except for their phone and figure our lives are worth nothing,” said Tagg, who had heard the tow truck driver at the crash was not from the Red Deer area.
“Most of us are on our own when we’re out there, just trying to help everybody, but nobody wants to help us.
“The big guys, they can bring extra people out to look after them. But that still doesn’t help, in some cases.”
Some drivers have been calling for tow trucks to be allowed to use blue flashing beacons, like those on police vehicles, to encourage people to slow down.
The law requires drivers to slow to 60 km/h (or less, if the posted limit is lower) in the lane closest to a tow truck when its lights are flashing.
Last year, the AMA recommended adding blue lights to tow trucks’ existing amber beacons. Saskatchewan made the change in 2017.
Research shows blue lights are more visible in bad weather, and less likely to be ignored, than the more common yellow lights.