Tow truck driver's widow, City Utilities reach wrongful death settlement

Edward Kammerer (news archives)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The widow of a tow truck driver who was electrocuted 18 months ago has reached a wrongful death settlement with City Utilities of Springfield. The amount that Betty Kammerer will receive isn’t public yet because a judge has to approve it.

Edward Kammerer, 60, of Strafford, died on Dec. 26, 2015, when he got out of his tow truck near Farm Road 112 at Missouri 125, south of Strafford. Kammerer didn’t know the light bar on his truck was touching a power line from a downed pole, sending electricity through the truck and then through him when he stepped on the ground. He died at the scene.

Kammerer ran A-1 Towing in Strafford for nearly 30 years. On this night, someone hit a power pole and then left the scene. A different driver swerved into a ditch to avoid hitting the pole, which was across the two-lane road. A Greene County sheriff’s deputy asked a dispatcher to call a tow truck to pull the vehicle out of the ditch. That deputy and another one left the scene before Kammerer arrived because they had other emergency calls.

Kammerer arrived and found a Greene County Sheriff’s Department volunteer directing traffic. Strafford firefighters were also at the scene. He drove around some barricades to reach the vehicle in the ditch. He didn’t see the downed power lines, and the Strafford fire chief says they were not throwing off sparks. No one knows why the experienced tow truck driver didn’t wait to make sure the power was off and the scene was safe.

Kammerer’s widow and her attorneys believe City Utilities is responsible for her husband’s death. City Utilities denies it. The request for a judge to approve the settlement says, “In order to resolve this matter amicably and avoid the risks and costs of lengthy litigation, the parties have agreed to a settlement resolving all issues between them.”

A date for a hearing in which a Greene County judge will approve the settlement is not set. A spokesman for CU declined on Thursday to reveal the amount of the settlement.