Updated: Tuesday, 11 Aug 2009, 11:05 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 10 Aug 2009, 10:11 AM EDT
NEWPORT NEWs, Va. - A young boy is without his father, and a mother is without her son and best friend. Newport News Police say a drunk driver hit and killed 36-year-old Andy Starmer while he attempted to tow another man's van.
The Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney charged the driver that hit him, William Charles Burns, with Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter. He was arrested Monday night.
Police were called to the crash scene at I-64 Westbound near the Victory Boulevard Exit around 8:24 p.m. Sunday.
Starmer would have been 37 on Wednesday. His mother, Ima "Daisy" Starmer said she was with Andy when he was called out to tow the broken down van. She told WAVY.com the last words her son ever said to her were, "I'll be back in 45 minutes. I love you."
Daisy walked with WAVY.com through the garden at her home in Newport News. She says Andy and his 11-year-old son planted the garden and then competed with each other to see who could grow more vegetables.
"Oh yeah, we have good memories, but he's taken away from us now," says Daisy.
It's hard to believe that in a place with such life, Ima's heart is broken because of death. Less than 24 hours ago, State Police knocked on her door telling her her son was gone.
"If it wasn't for him I don't know sometimes what I would do and now I don't know what I will do. He's just a young kid, taken away...my baby," sobs Daisy.
WAVY.com was at the scene Sunday night on I-64. Police say 51-year-old William Burns of Newport News was drunk when he lost control of his 2005 Mitsubishi Raider truck and smashed into the back of Starmer's tow truck.
In the direct path of the out of control vehicle stood Starmer. He was hooking the last chain onto the broken down van. He never knew, moments before he lost his own life, he saved someone else's.
"Him and the driver were standing (next to the tow truck) just mere seconds before (the crash) happened and he explained to the other driver, he said, 'Look sir, I really need you to go back on the other side of the vehicle out of harms way because you never know what happens out here, okay?'" says Clarence Patrick of Superior Towing.
Patrick runs Superior Towing where Andy worked. He says his employee of seven years did everything right at the scene.
"He had the rotating lights up top going, had all the truck lights blinking and everything, before he got out of the truck, we wear reflective clothing."
WAVY.com wanted answers, so we knocked on William Burns's door. His brother answered saying only that Burns was "immobile" and "(The accident) is a terrible tragedy."
A tragedy that's left an 11 year-old without his father and fishing buddy, and a mother wondering how she'll go on.
"One day at a time. Just one day at a time," says Daisy.
Burns is charged with DUI and reckless driving. Investigators say the Commonwealth's Attorney has to see the evidence before any other charges may be filed.
In the meantime, police ask that no memorial be placed at the crash scene because it could be distracting to other drivers and cause more accidents. Instead, a memorial in Andy's honor is growing at Superior Towing.
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