Crime

Tow truck driver killed in hit-and-run crash; police search for driver of black sedan

Tow company owners lost employee, and a son, to roadside wrecks

Police were looking for the driver of a black sedan that struck and killed tow truck driver John “Johnny” Stewart, who was helping a motorist on Interstate 35 in Kansas City, North, late Sunday.
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Police were looking for the driver of a black sedan that struck and killed tow truck driver John “Johnny” Stewart, who was helping a motorist on Interstate 35 in Kansas City, North, late Sunday.

Update: Kansas City police said Monday afternoon that they have the hit-and-run vehicle, as well as a “person of interest,” in custody.

Police were looking for the driver of a black sedan that struck and killed a tow truck driver working a roadside rescue along Interstate 35 in Kansas City, North, late Sunday.

The tow truck driver was identified as John “Johnny” Stewart, according to the Facebook page for GT Tow Service of Smithville.

The crash occurred about 10:45 p.m. Sunday along northbound I-35 near North Brighton Avenue.

Stewart, who was helping a stranded motorist, was hit while he was securing a silver Toyota on his truck. He was standing at the controls near the left side of his truck, according to a preliminary crash report from Kansas City police. Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene.

The vehicle that struck him fled the scene without stopping.

Family members pleaded on Facebook for anyone who sees a black sedan with “lots of front end damage and broken headlight” to call authorities immediately.

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Jason Cockrum dried paint on a cross he was helping make for his friend and coworker John Stewart, who was struck and killed late Sunday while retrieving a vehicle on Interstate 35 in the Northland. Cockrum was at GT Tow Service in Smithville, where both men worked. KEITH MYERS KMYERS@KCSTAR.COM

The owner of GT Tow Service has been an advocate for “move over” laws, which require drivers to give wide berth to emergency vehicles stopped on the roadside, after the owner’s 18-year-old son Blake Gresham was killed working a roadside rescue.

Gresham was killed on Aug. 27, 2012, when he was struck by a box truck while getting ready to tow a stranded vehicle on I-35 near the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.

Gresham’s family has started a nonprofit organization, Move Over for Blake, to raise public safety awareness for tow truck workers and other emergency personnel on the roadways.

On July 12, Randy's Towing & Hauling, in St. Jacob hosted the American Spirit Ride, an awareness effort for the Move Over Law. During a special ceremony, members of the community honored workers killed while working on the highway and were reminde

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