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Lockeford family wants added safety for farming equipment after deadly crash

Family pushes for change around farm equipment safety after deadly crash in Linden
Family pushes for change around farm equipment safety after deadly crash in Linden 02:13

LOCKEFORD — A San Joaquin County family wants more safety measures for farming equipment out on the roads after losing one of their loved ones in a deadly crash in May.

"There was a medical examiner there and she told me there was an accident and he didn't make it," Tyler Fritz said.

Tyler's dad, Russell, was on his way to work the morning of May 15th but never made it.

Near Comstock and Duncan roads, just north of Linden, Russell crashed into farming equipment and his truck overturned, killing him.

"Clipped the back left of the sprayer and it was in the road," Tyler said.

Tyler said his dad couldn't see the sprayer and how much of the county road it was taking up. He hit it at full speed.

Now, the Fritz family wants to see tougher rules and regulations on farming equipment on county roads.

They started gathering signatures asking for enhanced lighting, reflective markers and specific times for when farming equipment can be transported on the roads, all to hopefully increase safety.

"Just made me realize we don't really have a lot of signs that say slow-moving vehicles," Fritz said.

The California Highway Patrol Stockton says the crash is still under investigation, but they say there are several safety measures already in place when it comes to farming equipment out on the roads.

Farming equipment is already supposed to have reflective markings and flashing lights if they go slower than 25 miles an hour.

Investigators are still looking into exactly what caused the crash, but they say this is a stern reminder of the dangers of rural area roads.

"San Joaquin County being agricultural, we see a lot of those on the road," Arceo said. "It has to have a slow-moving vehicle sign on the back. It's an orange triangle surrounded by a red outline and reflective."

For Tyler and his family, it isn't enough.

"I would like to see more," he said.

They're hoping their grief can turn into action and something can be done for their dad.

"The day before he passed, we were shooting hoops by his house, and that was the last memory," Fritz said. "I'm glad I got to do that."

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