Tow Truck Driver Aiding Stalled Car Mourned After Booze-Fueled Crash on LI Expressway

A caravan of tow truck drivers waited outside of the Queens County Criminal Courthouse Saturday night during the arraignment of the alleged drunk driver accused of killing one of their own.

Carlos Santiago, 47, died that morning in a chain-reaction crash while helping out a motorist on the Long Island Expressway.

“He was a father, he was a great co-worker,” Maureen Napolitano said. She worked the overnight shift as a dispatcher for Knights Collision & Auto Care in Brooklyn.

Napolitano sent Santiago to help the driver of a Nissan sedan who had stalled out on the westbound lanes of the expressway near exit 19 in Elmhurst. Around 3:30 am, she got the call she was not prepared for.

“And the next thing I know, I get a phone call that my driver is in the middle of a highway and it doesn’t look good for him,” she said Saturday.

Investigators said a drunk driver in a Dodge Durango caused a three-car crash that ended up killing Santiago and seriously injuring the 27-year-old stalled driver.

Santiago is being remembered as a father of three who worked the grueling overnight shift to provide for his family.

“It’s heartbreaking. I’m a father of four, god forbid something would happen to me, who is gonna take care of my family,” Anthony Placencia said.

A caravan of Santiago’s fellow truck drivers visited the spot on the Long Island Expressway where he was struck by the alleged drunk driver. Santiago’s boss said the job of a truck driver has its fair share of risks, and now they want justice for their lost colleague .

“We’re not gonna forget our friend, and we’re not gonna just let this go unnoticed,” Joseph Robles, president of Knights Collision & Auto Care, said.

Denzel Porter, 28, of Queens was arrested and charged with attempted vehicular manslaughter. If he is found guilty, he faces a prison sentence of up to seven years.

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