BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 51-year-old volunteer firefighter who was working as a tow truck driver was struck and killed along I-95 after responding to help another vehicle.
The death of Brian Williams was news that rocked the entire Perryville community. It’s the second time in just four years that one of their own firefighters was killed by another driver.
The pain is still fresh.
“It’s a numb feeling,” said Wayne Tome, with the Baltimore County Fire Department.
A crushing reality that’s yet to sink in.
“We’re all trying to process what happened, waiting for Brian to come around the corner and start cracking jokes and laughing,” said Brian Jones, with the Community Fire Company of Perryville.
Sunday morning, Williams – a longtime tow truck driver and firefighter – was helping another vehicle on the side of I-95 in Cecil County.
Just minutes later, the driver of a Jeep Cherokee lost control and smashed into the vehicles, killing Williams.
“We don’t know yet all of reasons why this operator lost control of the vehicle,” said Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.
His brothers at the Community Fire Company of Perryville raced to the scene.
“It was just a somber moment, of all my members with their heads down, and they all came over to me,” Jones said.
Williams’ locker now sits as a memorial as support continues to pour into the fire station.
“Brian had 31 years with the company,” said Jones. “Special guy, would do anything for you, would give you the shirt off his back.”
While the Baltimore County Fire Department copes with the loss as well, because that is where Williams also worked for years.
“He was very resourceful, liked to fix things, good carpenter. He was a jack of all trades,” Tome said.
State Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but many are now honing in on the Move Over Law, which police say was never followed.
“We have a situation that clearly is one more tragic example of why the Move Over Law is so important,” Shipley said.
While Williams’ wife – who is is also a member of the Community Fire Company of Perryville – daughter, and friends are left trying to put together the pieces.
“He was only 51 years old. That’s way too early in life to have anything happen like this,” Tome said. “I don’t think you ever get your arms around it. It will always be that question of, why did this have to happen?”
The driver of the Jeep was identified as a 37-year-old man from Bel Air, though no charges have been filed in the case as of yet. He’s expected to be okay.
According to online court records, he has a lengthy arrest record, including driving with a suspended license.
In 2014, the Move Over Law was expanded to include tow truck drivers, along with police and other emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
Services for Williams have not yet been scheduled, and the Community Fire Company of Perryville says they’re working on setting up something for donations.