Tow truck driver killed on Outer Loop of the Beltway

VIENNA, Va. (WUSA 9) -- Hicham Najdi was killed Monday, simply doing his job.

The 45-year-old Najdi, who some called AJ, was a tow truck driver.

"All around fun to be around, always joking, making people laugh. He was a really good guy, Worked really hard. Basically worked all four weeks out of the month and took just one weekend off," Dan Strouth, manager at Fairfax Towing, said.

Virginia State Troopers said Najdi was prepping a disabled vehicle on the Tysons Corner stretch of I-495 to load on to his tow truck.That's when troopers said the driver of an on-coming box truck crossed into the shoulder where Najdi was working, hit and killed him instantly.

The driver of the box truck was charged with reckless driving.

"We had our motor carrier safety team that did an inspection of the box truck and found that the brakes were inoperable and put the vehicle out of service for that and a few other safety violations," Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police, said.

"When they're driving down the road, or they're on their phones, or not paying attention or following the move over slow down law, people really need to wake up. That's someone's life we just lost today that was trying to help someone on the side of the road," Strouth said.

Police said, had the driver obeyed Virginia's move over laws, the accident may have been avoided.

Virginia and Maryland drivers are required to move over a lane when approaching a work or emergency vehicle in the shoulder lane with red, blue or amber flashing lights.

"Think about 495. You have vehicles passing you anywhere from 40, 50, 60, 70 miles plus per hour and all that you have between you and those passing vehicles is a cushion of air," Geller said.

High speeds, close contact, split seconds and one mistake can be deadly.

"It just take a second for someone to swerve over or not pay attention to what they're doing and something like this happens," Strouth said.


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