Wrecker driver hit, killed helping driver on I-95

By Marques White, Weekend morning anchor, reporter, mwhite@wjxt.com
Jason Mealey, Producer, jmealey@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:25:35 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 28 2014 06:40:00 PM EDT

VIDEO: Kip Tapen, a tow truck driver was struck and killed on the side of the road while aiding a disabled vehicle. His co-workers describe him as a hard working father who was always talking about his children.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

The driver of a wrecker was hit and killed on the side of Interstate 95 while helping a driver whose car had broken down early Saturday morning.  It happened at 3:15 a.m. near International Golf Parkway in St. Johns County.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the man who died was Kit Tappen, 41, of St. Augustine.

He was helping a driver of a Pontiac G-6 at the time.

Troopers say a tractor-trailer driven by Mason Bryant, 25 was traveling in the outside lane of I-95.  The right rear tandem tires of the tractor-trailer went into the emergency lane and hit Tappen, according to FHP.

The tires also hit the left side of the car. No word if the driver of the Pontiac was injured.

Tappan worked for Complete Collision. His boss, Mohammad Chatila, spoke to News4Jax.com about the type of worker he was.

"He's a hard worker and never complained and always wanted to help someone. No matter what company was stopped on the side of the road he pulled up behind them if they needed any help," said Chatila.

Other tow truck drivers want to remind the public of the dangers of their job.

"You know you see trucks and you know they're tired out there and they come close to you a lot. We watch out the best we can," said Mark Stewart of ABC Towing.

FHP has not said if charges are pending against Bryant.

Tappan's family has set up an account to help pay funeral expenses: gofundme.com/au7uwc

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