Sunday afternoon, a suspected drunken driver plowed into a tow truck parked on the shoulder of Interstate 80 eastbound, running over a tow truck driver’s leg. “It’s not good at all, especially when it’s one of your own,” said Iran Chima. But Chima said a knee-jerk reaction allowed his uncle, Rick Chima, to save more than his leg — he saved his own life. “When he noticed it, he decided to duck underneath the truck,” Iran Chima said. “When he dove under the truck, the ride side tire caught his right leg and shattered it.” Hard to fathom then, how just three days after the crash, 57-year-old Rick Chima is back on his feet at the hospital, holding onto a walker with two familiar faces by his side.
“I think we all had the same reaction. We were surprised to see him up and standing on his own,” said North Sacramento CHP Officer Mike Zerfas. The CHP officers know Rick Chima well. Chima’s Towing has been a part of the CHP’s tow rotation in North Sacramento for over a decade. So when they heard he got hit, it hurt. “So it hits home with us and other officers here,” Zerfas said. But apparently, the impact didn’t phase Rick Chima one bit. “He wasn’t upset. He wasn’t screaming. He was just very cool, very calm,” his nephew said. The collision shoved both his tow truck and the box truck it was towing, a combined weight of 35,000 pounds, toward the customer standing on the shoulder. Police say 55-year-old Ken Bussey was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Court records indicate that he was also charged with DUI in February of last year. Iran Chima wants to remind drivers of the law. “Slow down and move over.” California drivers legally have to slow down and move over for any vehicle on the shoulder providing an emergency service. “There might be a person with that vehicle and you never know where they might be,” he said.