Tow truck driver hit on I-81 breaks neck, has ‘really long road to recovery ahead of him’

26-year-old Tennessee man charged with reckless driving

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Virginia State Police Senior Trooper Roger Alley is back at work after being involved in a scary incident this weekend.

Alley and tow truck driver Eugene Alls, 31, were working an accident on Interstate 81 in Christiansburg on Saturday morning when a driver who was going too fast for the snowy roads failed to move over and hit them both.

Police charged that driver, Jean Luc Fortner, 26, of Lebanon, Tennessee, with reckless driving.

"What I remember most was the rear window shattering and the front side and back side window shattering as well," Alley said.

[State trooper, tow driver injured after a car crashed into a working accident in Christiansburg]

Alley is okay, but Alls, who was standing beside the trooper’s car, was pinned between the car and the wall.

"I heard Eugene say, ‘Trooper, I’m hurt,’” recalled Alley.

"I don't think it's really set in how close he came to losing his life," said Eugene’s boss Shawn Lowry, who owns S&A Towing.

Lowry said Eugene is still in the hospital recovering from surgery for a broken neck, among other injuries.

"He's going to have a really long road to recovery ahead of him," Lowry said.

He will be out of work for at least a few months, but he’s lucky to be alive.

"Any time you're working on the interstate, you're risking your life," Lowry said.

"It's part of the job. I know that's a coined phrase but it's, that's what we are paid to unfortunately endure at times," Alley said.

This accident is just another example of the life-threatening consequences of not moving over.

"Anything with flashing lights on it, it's the law, move over and give us room to work," Lowry said.

"It's a simple message," Alley said.

The driver and three passengers in the car that caused the accident were also taken to the hospital.

Virginia’s Move Over Law requires drives to not only move over for first responders, but also for workers on the side of the road.

Click here to find a GoFundMe to help the tow truck driver.

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Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.