Family of tow truck driver killed in hit-and-run crash honors his life, calls for driver awareness

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A month after a local tow truck driver was killed in a hit-and-run crash, friends and family gathered in Henderson Friday for a candlelight vigil to honor his life and share an important message. 

Flashing lights and falling tears marked heartbreaking moments, as those who loved Ryan Billotte remembered him. 

“He was absolutely amazing, always funny,” Ryan’s wife Becca Billotte told 8 News Now. “Always had a smile.”

The 48-year-old was working along the 215 near South Decatur Boulevard on March 9 when police said 51-year-old Colette Despain hit him and left the scene. 

Colette Patrice Despain (Nevada Highway Patrol)

Despain, who was later arrested, faces multiple charges including failure to stop at the scene of a crash involving death. 

“He is supposed to be at home with me,” Becca Billotte said, fighting back tears. “And he’s not because people aren’t paying attention.”

The profound sorrow present Friday also served a poignant purpose, to shed light on the importance of the Nevada “Move Over” Law. 

It requires drivers to slow down and if possible, move to the far left any time they pass a tow truck, response vehicle or stalled car on the side of the road. 

“I call it the invisible law,” a fellow tow truck driver said. “But it is time to make this law visible.”

“Everybody needs to be aware of how dangerous their job is,” Ryan’s daughter Paige Burris added of fellow tow truck drivers. “And when they see somebody or an emergency vehicle, they need to move over, they need to merge, they need to slow down because lives are at stake.”

This simple action has the power to save countless lives, and those who knew Ryan believe these efforts to help others will allow his spirit to live on forever. 

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Burris concluded. “I want them to come home to their families.”

Ryan’s family wants to stress the importance of slowing down to at least 20 miles an hour any time a driver passes a tow truck, even along an interstate or any other high-speed area. 

For more information on the Nevada “Move Over” “Law, CLICK HERE.

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