An employee for AAA was struck and killed in Bowie, Maryland, on Tuesday while helping a driver who ran out of gas, Maryland State Police said.
Anthony Okozi, 69, of Upper Marlboro, was fueling up a car stopped on the left shoulder and first lane of westbound Route 50 near Collington Road, police said.
Okozi was wearing a reflective vest. His AAA vehicle had emergency strobe lights on and traffic cones were on display, police said.
A driver in a black Jeep Cherokee Laredo swerved to avoid the AAA vehicle, then struck Okozi, police said.
Officers responded about 11:15 p.m. and Okozi was pronounced dead on the scene.
"He's kind. He's hard-working. He's sincere," a relative of Okozi's said while crying.
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He worked for years as a mechanic and joined AAA a year ago to stay busy and help people, his family and friends told News4.
"His age didn't stop him. He was still really healthy and he was going to go until he couldn't go no more," a woman who knew him said.
"They're looking at everything from speed, to impairment, to distracted driving. We are just not sure why this happened," Elena Russo, a Maryland State Police spokesperson said.
The driver of the Jeep was identified as Joseph Anderson, 21, of Rockville. The driver is facing pending charges. The State Attorney's Office said it is waiting for the results of the investigation.
"I can't tell you the number of incidents that have happened on this stretch of the highway," Russo said. "Route 50 is a busy road."
Police said Okozi's death is reminder to follow Maryland's move over laws to help protect first responders offering help. Since 2015, Maryland police agencies have issued 25,000 citations for violations of the move over law.
"To help create an extra barrier of safety for those people, police officers, tow truck operators, EMS providers, who work on the sides of our roads daily to keep us safe," Russo said.
No other injuries were reported.
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.