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On February 6, 2012, Heidi wrote a letter to the International Towing & Recovery Museum in Chattanooga Tennessee on behalf of Andy to be included on the Wall Of The Fallen.


PLEASE BE ADVISED: This letter contains some graphic details of the accident. Some names have been changed and/or removed to preserve the identity of parties involved.

Dear Wall of the Fallen Board of Directors:

    I would like to introduce myself- my name is Heidi Richcreek, President of HJ Towing & Recovery, Inc. located in Landisburg and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I am writing today on behalf of my coworker and friend, Andrew C. Smith, to be included on The Wall of the Fallen. I have also enclosed the application for the Survivor Fund for Monetary Assistance so his son, Chandler who just turned three, would be able to benefit from your program. On the application, you have requested information regarding the accident- they are as follows.

    On Tuesday, January 3, 2012 Andrew started work around 2:30PM because we were very busy that day. He normally works second shift which is 3:00pm to 11:00pm. Andrew and his coworker, Bob, were dispatched for a company to tow a truck and trailer from Bedford to the companies terminal in Shippensburg. Bob and Andrew departed around 11:30pm with Andrew arriving at the Carlisle shop and Bob heading toward the Landisburg shop. at 11:30PM Jake (the dispatcher at the time) dispatched Andrew to Route 581 Westbound for a disable Dodge pickup with one passenger, a man from Mechanicsburg, for AAA. Andrew called Jake back around 11:45PM because the vehicle was not in the exaxt location that AAA had given us and eventually Andrew came upon the vehicle.

    When Andrew arrived on scene, as always with Andy- "safety first", his lights were turned on and Andrew went to work. The Dodge pickup was loaded onto the bed of the GMC rollback and Andrew was at the rear controls- only seconds away from securing the bed and leaving the scene. In fact the bed only needed to go four more inches to be secured. Unfortunately for Andrew, those were devasting seconds that took his life. The AAA customer explained the next day that a (NAME REMOVED) truck and trailer driven by a New York man never "moved over". In fact, there were no other vehicles on the road at that time. If the truck driver would have moved over Andrew would be here today- but instead, he did not and the truck hit Andrew at the controls, sideswiped the rollback, took off the driver side mirror, damaged the front end of the rollback and the wrost damage of all was when Andrew was laying 15 feet in front of the rollback on the road- lifeless. The AAA customer stayed with Andrew and called 911 for an ambulance. No money or piece of equipment could ever compare to losing our friend and coworker. It was estimated by the state police that Andrew was hit around 12:07AM on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012.

    The state police contacted Jake and I (Jake is my husband and we are owners of HJ Towing) and arrived at our house. We could not believe our ears and literally dropped to the floor. This could not be real- this was just a dream. The state police ahad to keep repeating these awful words to us until it finally sunk in. When we somewhat gathered our thoughts we had to make some decisions. Jake drove to the scen with one of our other drivers to tow our rollback back to the shop. Coincidentally, this same driver was rerouted about 1/4 of a mile from the scen and could see all of Andrew's lights on the rollback and did not even know this his friend and coworker was lying on the road- covered up by a blanket. Our rollback was checked and found to be legal and safe, as well as Andrew's work. The state police asked me to ride with them to Duncannon to inform Andrew's mother and family of the tragedy. This was the most horrifying night of my life- having to tell a mother that her son was taken way too soon.

    The next day was very solemn at HJ Towing. My guys were very shocked and upset as I told them one by one of the unfortunate tragedy. Yes, that is what it is- a tragedy- a young, vibrant, hard-working, funny, always eager and ready to go attitude with such a zest for life 23-year-old man who had so much more to offer to the world and he was taken way too soon. Andrew was always in a good mood and would always make you laugh. The worst part about this is that Andrew left being a 3-year-old son- Chandler- who will never know his father the way he should have.

    Andrew's services were held Tuesday, January 10, 2012 in Wesley United Methodist Church in Marysville and he was buried in Evergreen Cemetary in Duncannon. I put a logo on the back of his favorite wrecker, "Shrek", a 1995 Peterbilt 35-ton wrecker that states "Now You're Running God's Wrecker" with his picture beside the saying. We also put In Loving Memory of Andy on the side of the bunk of Shrek. Jake built and welded a "carrier" to transport Andy's casket near the wheel lift so Andy could take his last ride in his favorite wrecker.

    Immediately following the accident, the family of towing was absolutely amazing. We received calls of concern, condolences and offers to help us in any way from towing companies all over Pennsylvania. In fact, we had a convoy of tow trucks from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even Virginia that followed Shrek in support of Andrew. The support was overwhelming and also comforting at the time. I refused four interviews from local news stations at Andrew's funeral because at the time I did not feel it was appropriate. However, the fifth request I did not refuse because the owner of one of our towing neighbors stated "Heidi, do this for Andy". I slowly turned around and did a television interview and hopefully this will get the point across for all motorists- the "Move Over Law". I stressed the importance of highway safety for emergency vehicles because we are there to help you. I must say, we had numerous calls regarding this law and comments from people in the community. In fact, while eating at a local restaurant a waitress recognized me from the interview and made a point to come and talk to me about how she was never aware of this law and how she always makes a point to be safer. Even though the awareness of this law is too late for Andrew, hopefully it will save another life or lives- this would be what Andrew would have wanted.

    In closing, I would like to thank the Board of Directors for having a "Wall Of the Fallen" to honor all of those tow truck drivers taken in the line of duty- they deserve it. We miss Andrew's laugh and bright smile everyday and will never forget our brother who was taken too soon.

Sincerly,
Heidi Richcreek, President

Slow Down Move Over
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