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Tow truck driver injured in hit and run

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A local tow truck driver is recovering after a car hit her and then drove off while she was trying to tow a vehicle off a busy highway.

It happened Saturday afternoon on Highway 62 near the Comanche/Kiowa County line. The driver suffered six fractured ribs.

Jani Riebold is still in pain, but is back to work. She says this actually isn't the first time she's been hit by a car while working, so she's wants to make drivers aware of how dangerous their job is, if people don't watch out for them.

Pulling over to the side of the road, turning on your lights and flashers and wearing a reflective vest is what tow truck drivers do to avoid getting hit when they're trying to get a broken-down vehicle off a busy street. But, even after all that some drivers are still careless.

"As I was hooking up, I was bringing the hook up to the frame and I hooked it," said Riebold. "The next thing I knew the car was right there, so I jumped up. I tried to turn away. I got my face away, but It got my ribs."

Riebold, the owner and operator of Southern Towing and Recovery was out on a regular, quick tow call last Saturday afternoon when a car hit her and sped off.

Now, every time she steps out of the tow truck to do her job, she's fears the worst might happen.

"You get very afraid out there because you never know when were going to make it home," said Riebold. "Our job isn't easy. We want to go out and make sure we're coming home."

Trooper Dalas Anderson says moving over for emergency vehicles, including a tow truck is not just a courtesy, it's an Oklahoma law.

"You are to slow down, yield to that vehicle and if safe to do so, move to the adjacent lane and passing," said Anderson. "We see it everyday out here and a lot of it is, I just think people are paying attention. Whether it's their cell phone or something else that's inside that vehicle."

Riebold says they put triangles or cones out if they're doing a tow that will take longer than the average 5-10 minutes. She hopes others will remember her story the next time they think about speeding past emergency vehicles or tow trucks on the side of the road.

"You need to move over," said Riebold. "It is a law for us out here. We want to go home just like everybody else. If we get hit, that means cops are back out, EMS, fire, we all work together. We just want to go home safe at night."

Riebold told police the car that hit her was an early 2000's white ford Taurus and had the numbers one and three in the license plate. If you have any information, call Oklahoma Highway Patrol or Lawton PD

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