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Two years later, one tow truck driver's death continues to spark calls for safer roadways

Billotte vigil
Posted at 9:40 PM, Mar 09, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On the two year mark of Ryan Billotte's untimely death along the side of Highway 215, friends, family and Nevada State Police officers joined in a vigil in his honor.

The vigil served, according to Ryan's widow Rebecca Billotte, as a call for drivers to follow the law and move over for vehicles on the roadside with flashing lights active.

"He loved saving people," Rebecca said.

MORE: Dozens of tow truck operators show up for Ryan Billotte’s memorial in Henderson

She said she'd Facetimed with Ryan less than an hour before the deadly crash and couldn't believe what she was hearing when the phone rang.

"I got a phone call saying something very bad had happened, and I needed to get to UMC," Rebecca said. "I got to UMC and found out he didn't make it."

State Trooper Ashlee Wellman said NSP attended Thursday's vigil to remind drivers that moving over is not a suggestion.

It's the law.

"Ryan is an example, unfortunately, of somebody not moving over," she said.

Collette DeSpain was later arrested and charged in connection with Ryan's death.

She later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve eight to 20 years in prison.

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"We want to go home to our families at the end of the day," Wellman said.

She said the law is in place to protect everyone.

"You pull to the right shoulder. You do everything right. You activate your hazard lights while you're waiting for help. Don't you want to take some comfort in the motoring public, especially on the highway?"

Rebecca said she'll continue to call for all motorists to move over for those who are still working on the side of the highways.

"These people need to get home too," she said. "It could have been their family member."