Nearly 100 Riverside tow truck drivers rolled out on Thursday, Oct. 17, with horns blaring and lights flashing in a touching tribute to a fellow driver, Jesse Martinez, who was killed while on the job.
“Our main goal is we want to show the Martinez family that Jesse wasn’t alone out there, and people do care for them,” tow truck driver Chris Navarro with Pepe’s Towing said to ABC 7.
Martinez’s sudden death has been heartbreaking and baffling for his family and his coworkers at Liberty Towing.
“It is baffling that Jesse went to help this guy and in return was killed,” Dominique Munoz, a co-worker of Martinez at Liberty Towing said.
Martinez was a devoted father to his three young children and the mother of his children Jacquie, according to Martinez’s sister, Laura Martinez Ludington.
“This is just a beautiful thing that they’re doing for our family and for Jesse,” she said to NBC Los Angeles. “I know my brother is looking down with a smile, seeing everything that’s being done [for his family].”
Munoz got behind the wheel of Martinez’s tow truck to lead a procession to his memorial service in Colton on Thursday. He said they often spoke about Martinez’s three children.
“He always spoke about his kids, that was a daily basis thing. He would always speak about how they were doing,” Munoz said.
The procession of trucks and cars wound its way through Riverside, including past the site where Martinez was killed where tow truck drivers honked their horns in his memory, according to ABC 7.
“We have companies from San Diego, Palm Springs, LA, we all support one another. It doesn’t matter how far we come as long as we show support,” Navarro said.
Martinez, 27, was shot and killed last Monday, Oct. 7, during an argument with a customer, 32-year-old Javier Martinez, who is not related to the victim, Riverside police said. Javier is now facing murder charges. His bail is set at $1 million.
“This could be any tow truck driver. It could happen to anybody. It could happen to me on my next call,” Navarro told NBC Los Angeles.
“It’s actually very important for the public out there … that whenever you see a fellow driver that has pulled over to the side and helping someone else, slow down,” Navarro continued. “Slow down for them.”
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