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UPDATE: Nevada High Patrol identifies woman arrested in deadly tow truck driver crash

Tow operators plead for Move-Over law enforcement
Colette Patrice Despain.jpg
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Tow truck operator Ryan Billotte was killed Tuesday when a investigators say a white Ford Transit van hit him as we worked on the side of the road near Decatur and 215 Southern Beltway. The vehicle was located and an arrest was made on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Big Valley Towing operates a variety of tow vehicles including heavy duty trucks in Las Vegas
Posted at 11:59 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 21:26:04-05

UPDATE MARCH 11: The Nevada Highway Patrol identified the woman arrested in Tuesday's hit-and-run crash that killed a tow truck driver on the 215 Southern Beltway.

Colette Patrice Despain, 51, was taken into custody on Wednesday after an anonymous tip from Crime Stoppers, according to the NHP.

Despain is facing several charges, including failure to stop at the scene of a crash involving death. She appeared in court on Thursday and a judge is holding her without bail.

The 51-year-old is scheduled to return to court on March 16 at 7:30 a.m.

ORIGINAL STORY
The Nevada Highway Patrol has made an arrest and located the damaged Ford van believed to be involved in the hit-and-run crash on the 215 that killed a tow truck operator in Las Vegas.

13 Investigates watched as NHP Troopers and investigators moved in and made the arrest of a woman at a home near South Rainbow Boulevard and Cactus Avenue.

Investigators also found a white Ford Transit van with heavy front-end damage.

RELATED: NHP: 1 arrested in connection to hit-and-run crash that killed tow truck driver

NHP confirms it is the vehicle believed to be involved in the deadly crash on Tuesday evening on the 215 Southern Beltway near Decatur Boulevard.

The crash killed Ryan Billotte, 48.

"He's been a tow in this valley for probably the last 15 to 20 years down here in Las Vegas but also in middle Nevada and Indian Springs," said Jose Norena, a tow operator and operations manager at Big Valley Towing.

Norena says the towing community is tight and the tragedy hits close to home.

On Tuesday night, dozens of tow trucks and vehicles flashed their amber-colored lights in a convoy to mourn the loss of Billotte.

ORIGINAL STORY: Law enforcement looking for driver after tow truck driver killed on beltway

"Unfortunately, the struck-by rate is just tremendous, one is obviously too many, but the numbers are staggering," explained Norena.

Auto insurance giant AAA says a tow operator is killed, on average, every other week across the United States.

"We are sitting ducks by ourselves, it seems like nobody cares about us," said Clayton Agner, a tow operator at Olmstead Towing in Las Vegas.

Agner has nearly 216,000 followers on Tik Tok and uses a variety of social media platforms to send a message.

He is the guy behind TowTruck Stories on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

One of those messages drives home the point about safety and following the Nevada Move-Over law.

"Pay attention to the road, to what's on the side of the road," said Agner.

"Quite literally, one person can make a difference," he added.

Agner says he often sees drivers do not follow the law, which requires people to move over at least one lane and slow down for any vehicle displaying flashing lights.

“We understand you can’t always move over, there’s cars next to you," he said.

"We ask you to pay attention, to watch the street, watch the road," added Agner.

VIDEO: Tow truck drivers honor colleague killed by hit-and-run driver

Agner says the message is well-received, especially among the younger audience on TikTok but says there appears to be a generational gap with the communication passed on from parents to their children about the rules of the road and following the law.

“We need to get a message out obviously social media, a big push on it but really, really understand the law, when you see flashing lights, whether it be amber, red, or blue, please slow down,“ said Norena.

At Big Valley Towing, Norena says have displays and signs on their vehicles reminding drivers of the requirement to move over.

"If you can give us that one lane, that cushion because sometimes it’s really only a matter of inches on the live highway where we are standing to be able to do our job correctly and help somebody in need," explained Norena.

Agner tells 13 Investigates that tow truck operators look out for each other on the road as a matter of professional courtesy.

“Basically, we see a tow truck on the side the road getting ready to load up, we'll swoop in right behind, we stay far back enough to where if anything were to happen our truck, we'll take the impact versus their truck, the customer's car or our driver or brother or sister we wanna be able to go home and see your families at night," added Agner.

Agner also believes the existing Move Over laws need to have greater enforcement.

“If my message just so happens to come across then maybe that’s one person that may be able to save like that might be able to save a life," added Agner.

Nevada Highway Patrol expects to release additional details regarding the crash on Thursday.