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First responders in Billings honor 2 tow truck drivers killed in crash

Posted at 12:05 PM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 14:05:58-04

A lot of lights and sirens were parading through Billings on Friday night.

It was a big turnout of at least 250 vehicles in a procession for two tow truck drivers who were killed on Sunday while clearing a crash on Interstate 90 near Columbus.

They lined up on Rims, held a moment of silence, and a bugler played "Taps."

The procession then went down Highway 3, to North 27th Street, onto Interstate 90, exited at South Billings Boulevard, to Old Laurel Road, back onto I-90, exiting at Zoo Drive and finishing at 360 Office Solutions.

The first responders came from Montana, Wyoming and Washington to pay tribute to Nick Visser and Casie Allen.

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Nick Visser
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Casie Allen

The tow truck drivers observed safety protocols while parking their vehicles on the Rims.

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"I didn't expect this," said Thin Line Towing & Recovery owner Kris Moore, who set up the parade on social media. "This is amazing. It shows the love and the brotherhood out here and it touches you."

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Kris Moore

They all came for a memorial for Visser, who was 37, and Allen, who was 28.

"We all do the same job. we all share the same risks," Moore said. "We've all had close calls. There may be different names on the doors. But we're all basically a big family."

Hundreds of vehicles from tow truck drivers, law enforcement, paramedics and firefighters parked on the Rims.

A bus carried the families of Visser and Allen, who often worked together.

"They're both hard workers and they deserve a big parade for them," said Kendra Visser, Nick's wife. "They died doing what they loved."

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Peggy Mathiason and Kendra Visser

"It's very humbling," said Robin Allen, Casie's mother. "He touched so many lives. We didn't know. and we just have to step back and take a breath and say ok, this is what they do."

It's special for two people who get to drive the trucks driven by Visser and Allen.

"Travis Goddard, Casie's best friend," Robin Allen said about the driver of Casie's truck. "Travis and Casie, when they'd get in the vehicle together, they'd call themselves the Reid Point Goon Squad."

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Robin Allen

"I'm very honored and really glad that I can do this for my brother Nick," said Paul Visser. "I don't have any words. It's going to be a tough road."

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Paul Visser

Nick's mother, Peggy Mathiason, said the accident has been difficult for everyone.

"The young man who was involved in this, my heart goes out to them as well," Mathiason said. "They're suffering. He's suffering. I'm just so sorry this happened."

The families say Nick and Casie's employer, Hanser's Automotive of Billings, is taking care of them.

Many have also been contributing to GoFundMe accounts set up for both Visser and Allen.