After a 78-year-old Tacoma man was hit by a car while trying to change a tire on the side of the highway, officials are reminding people to stay off their phones while on the road and to never hesitate to ask for help for car troubles.
The man was struck Monday by a 29-year-old Tacoma resident who called 911 and admitted that she had been looking at her phone while driving, according to State Patrol Trooper Richard Reyer. The woman is in custody at the Pierce County Jail, booked on investigation of vehicular homicide.
The incident occurred around 8:40 a.m. when the man pulled over his Toyota Sienna onto the shoulder of a collector road running parallel to northbound Interstate 5 near South 38th Street in Tacoma, Reyer said.
If motorists find themselves in a similar situation, Reyer said drivers should feel welcome to call for assistance. State troopers can increase visibility by turning on their lights behind the car, and the Washington State Department of Transportation can send a team to assist with the tire change.
All drivers have to do is call 911 with their location and say they are in an unsafe area with busy traffic, Reyer said.
“I can’t tell you how many motorists I told that to. That’s what we’re here for,” he said. “Our job is to keep our community safe.”