INDIANAPOLIS, Ind-- With cars flying down the road upwards of 60 miles per hour, those working alongside highways are in a vulnerable situation.
“Anyone who changes a tire on a highway is very courageous, very brave," said Sam Gillespie, owner of Sam's Roadside Service. "They know they might not come home at the end of the day.”
On Wednesday, 30-year-old Clinton Simmons didn’t make it home. He was fixing a flat tire along I-74 near Lizton, when a semi truck came barreling into his car. Police believe the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
“It’s tragic, but it’s definitely not surprising," Gillespie said of the incident. "We’re on the highway everyday, we see close calls, and I'm surprised it actually doesn’t happen more.”
Roadside service workers like Gillespie outfit their trucks with flashing lights, hoping drivers see them and move over. However, that doesn’t always happen.
“I had my emergency lights on and a big semi, I don't know how fast, he had to be doing over 70 miles per hour, came through and his trailer hit me and he kept on going," said Mark Logue, a roadside assistance worker and owner of "Angel on Wheels."
Logue was working alongside I-69 near Anderson around three weeks ago when a semi truck swiped him. It was dark outside and Logue was putting tools into the back of his truck when the truck hit his car. Three weeks later, the damage is still there. Luckily, so is he.
“$2,600-worth of damage, but thankfully I came out with my life,” said Logue.
Both roadside workers feel that drivers are aware of the move-over law, but too often they’re just not paying attention. Instead they’re texting or even dozing off.
“Unfortunately it takes a tragic reminder like this one to get people to be talking about it and thinking about it,” said Sgt. John Perrine with the Indiana State Police.
Last month, police began targeting drivers for distracted driving and failing to move over and slow down. In total they pulled over more than 300 drivers and passed out 115 tickets.
“It’s not just the law, it’s the courtesy," Perrine said. "As a human being, you should have courtesy for another human being who’s on the side of the road to slow down and move over for them.”
As Gillespie and his fellow roadside workers continue doing their jobs, they’re asking Hoosier drivers to do the same.
“Just move over or slow down, it’s not that hard,” Gillespie said.