MARION COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – There are renewed calls for drivers to “move over” for roadside mechanics and first responders after a man was hit and killed while fixing a vehicle this week in Alabama.
Morris Welch, 56, was struck early Monday morning along Interstate 22. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the suspect driver did not stop and was later arrested.
Investigators identified the suspect as Vaughn Christian Walker, 24, from Louisianna. Walker was booked into the Marion County jail on a felony leaving the scene of an accident charge.
Welch was working for M&M Tire and Mechanical Services, where he had been employed on the night shift for about two years.
“I hope and pray that, through this, this never happens to anybody else ever again,” said Rhonda Holley with M&M.
White flowers were placed outside the front of the business this week. Holley told WIAT it was difficult to tell Welch’s family that he wouldn’t be coming home from work.
“My heart breaks for them, what do you say to a family member. What do you do? All you can do is say you are sorry and you wish things were different. I mean, what do you do,” Holley asked.
Holley said there is no reason why Welch wouldn’t have been visible.
“They have reflective clothing, they have all kinds of lights and everything in their trucks,” Holley said.
Fellow roadside mechanics wonder why the driver didn’t move over.
“It makes you scared to go out and do your job because you never know. The next time you go out it may be your last because these people don’t move over no more,” said Kenny Ellison.
Ellison and his colleague Mark Walker described Welch as a dedicated worker and said he will be missed
“It upsets us. Up there, there is little traffic. There was no reason why that driver couldn’t have got over,” said Walker.
First responders, tow drivers, and roadside workers continue to call attention to the safety concern. There is a rally held each year in memory of John Hubbard. Hubbard was killed while helping a motorist near Tuscaloosa in 2016.
“They’re trying to make a living and they’re trying to go home to their families at the end of the day,” said Holley.
As friends and family members prepare to say goodbye to the father and grandfather, co-workers are pleading with drivers everywhere to slow down and move over so no other families feel the same pain.
“You don’t think it’s ever going to happen at your job site, you hear about it all around town, but when it hits home it is hard,” said Ellison.
Walker remained in the Marion County jail Wednesday night after having his bond set at $100,000.