A 45-year-old tow truck driver was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after being hit by a car near Deerfoot City.
Police said the victim had parked his tow truck in the 5700 block of southbound 11 Street N.E. just before 6 a.m. to help a driver with their broken-down vehicle.
While outside of his tow truck and working, the victim was hit by a black Subaru Legacy as it travelled south on 11 Street.
The Subaru, driven by a 28-year-old man, pinned the tow truck driver between it and the vehicle he was working on.
Paramedics transported the victim to the Foothills Medical Centre in serious, life-threatening condition.
The Subaru driver stayed at the scene and was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Police are investigating if driver impairment was a factor in the crash, and are asking anyone with information about the collision to call the Calgary Police Service’s non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.
Sgt. Colin Foster from the CPS traffic unit said the tow truck had its lights activated, and the driver was wearing high-visibility gear when he was struck.
“We need to work out what went wrong for the driver to get so close to the tow truck driver and strike the tow truck as well,” Foster said.
Foster reminded drivers of the importance of slowing down and moving over when approaching emergency vehicles and crews are doing work on roadways.
“We’re trying to get the road open as quick as we can. We can only do that safely,” he said.
“So if you see us there with our emergency lights on, high-visibility clothing, slow down. Give us the room we need in order to work safely so we can get what’s causing the obstruction out of the way.”
The western regional director of the Canadian Towing Association said these types of incidents happen far too often.
“In Alberta, we’ve lost a number of operators, so it’s not something that’s just a one-off, once in a while,” said Guy Huta. “I think every single company has been involved in this type of mishap, and it’s absolutely terrifying.”
Huta said drivers need to constantly be on alert while working on roadways.
“The vehicle starts skidding, it starts sliding, and you’re watching. It almost goes into slow motion when you’re seeing that happen, and then you’re diving for the ditch,” Huta said.
In 2017, Saskatchewan made a move to allow tow trucks to use blue lights for additional visibility, something Huta would like to see come further west.
“We’re still making strides as an industry to lobby the government of Alberta to put this through to make our roadway safer,” Huta said.
– With files from Matthew Conrod and Heide Pearson