Myrtle Beach SkyWheel honors fallen tow operators
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel lit up yellow on Sunday in honor of fallen tow operators like Austin Gayne and to remind drivers to slow down and move over.
Austin Gayne was born into the family business and had a love for towing.
On February 1, 2021, that love was cut short as he was loading a heavy wrecker with a dump truck in Orlando, Fla.
“A driver failed to slow down and move over and struck him,” said Brooke Lawrence, his mother. “My son spent 26 days in the ICU, and then we had to remove him off life support,” she said.
His family wishes more people would take the time to follow the law.
“Austin was always a good person, he had a smile on his face. Even if he was having a bad day, you didn’t know it,” said Alexis Gayne, Austin Gayne’s sister.
After Austin Gayne’s passing, his family wanted to find ways to make a difference for him and other tow operators whether it was billboards across cities, postcards left on cars, or lighting up statues.
“For if it helps one person go home at the end of their shift, it was worth it,” said Lawrence. “Every 4 1/2 days somebody doesn’t go home, they leave a family behind and those drivers that are texting or talking on the phone, they just don’t know the consequences,” she added.
With all 50 states requiring drivers to slow down and move over for first responders and flashing lights for tow operators, a mother still grieving said it’s not only imperative that drivers don’t drive distracted, but she’s hopeful to continue commemorating his memory.
“That my son makes a difference, that his children remember him, they were one and two years old, I put billboards up with this picture, his picture is on the postcards, I want everybody to remember him,” said Lawrence.
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