Tow truck operator killed at scene of traffic crash

400-BLUE-LIGHTS-PATROL-CARWhen Historic City News learned that a St Augustine tow truck operator was summoned to bring in a disabled 2006 Pontiac G-6, parked along I-95, we had no way to know that this would be the last call he would answer.

At about 3:15 a.m. this morning, southbound on I-95 at mile marker 323, 41-year-old Kit Irwin Tappen responded to the scene and was in the process of connecting the stranded Pontiac to his tow truck.

Tappen was standing near the left rear quarter panel of the disabled vehicle when troopers say that 25-year-old Mason Lewis Bryant of Macclenny, also traveling southbound on I-95 in the outside lane, left the travel lane onto the paved emergency shoulder.

Bryant was operating a 2014 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer. Troopers reported to local news media that Bryant struck Tappen with the right rear tandem tires of the tractor-trailer, as well as the Pontiac G6; causing an estimated $4,500 in damages.

Tappen was transported to UF Health Jacksonville where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation is continuing. Charges are pending blood tests of the driver, and an autopsy of Tappan’s remains.

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