Las Vegas tow truck driver honored on anniversary of his death
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Tow truck lights flashed in the dark sky as a convoy of tow operators followed Nevada State Police on a ride back to where Ryan Billotte lost his life.
On March 9, 2021, Billotte was helping a motorist when he was struck and killed by a driver on 215 near the Jones exit.
On Wednesday night Billotte’s family, friends and fellow tow truck drivers gathered near the Jones exit. Nevada State Police troopers blocked off the exit for about 20 minutes in Billotte’s honor, and to remind drivers to slow down and move over.
Billotte’s wife choked back tears surrounded by family. Fellow drivers parked Billotte’s truck in the same spot it was exactly one year ago when he lost his life.
“It’s just a rollercoaster up and down of emotions,” Rebecca Billotte said.
The couple has five children. Rebecca described her husband as a good Christian man that was always in a good mood and great at his job.
“He wanted to help everyone. [He] wanted to be out there,” she said.
In the days following Ryan’s death, Nevada State Police committed to always help block when a tow truck is on the side of the highway when requested. That has continued on into 2022. Tow operators say more fellow tow drivers will pull over to help too.
The trucking community said Ryan’s death has raised more awareness of the 2019 Nevada state “Move Over” law.
“Because of the attention it allowed many departments to put a little more emphasis on enforcing the Move Over law. Not just for tow drivers, but everyone on the side of the road,” Jose Norena from Big Valley Tow said.
However, many tow drivers said there are still way too many drivers that speed by tow operators on the highway. They ask for every driver to think of Ryan.
“They are the people that make us safe,” Norena said. “They can either make this very dangerous or very safe by slowing down and moving over. I can’t stress that enough. That gets us home at the end of the day.”
The hit and run driver that killed Billotte was sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison in February.
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