NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The two tow truck drivers who died in an accident Wednesday morning in Newport News have been identified.
Warren Bills, a driver for Superior Towing Service, and John Douglas Patrick, who worked for Big Boy's Towing & Recovery, got into a collision on Interstate 64 eastbound at Oyster Point Road.
Emergency crews arrived to find a mangled tow truck, another tow truck with a car on the back, and the two tow truck drivers dead.
The owner of the car being towed by Superior was standing on the side of the road and was not hurt.
Traffic came to a complete standstill at around 7 a.m. All lanes were not cleared until after 1 p.m.
The two tow truck drivers who died in the collision actually knew each other.
Warren Bills loved to ride Harleys. Patrick loved to build, fix, and race cars at Langley.
For reasons unknown, but possibly medical, Patrick slammed into Bills' truck while he was loading a car.
Darrell Snyder knew both Patrick and Bills. "I've known that family a long time...Pat was like Warren, they'd both give you the shirt off his back," said Synder.
The two men loved their families and adored the grandchildren.
Patrick's son John said, ""He was a great man, a great father, a great grandfather" as he paused to wipe his eyes from the sadness of the day.
Robert Christner hired Patrick back in 1976. They were best friends ever since.
"This is the saddest day of my life, and if you ever had a best friend it was Pat," said Christner.
The sound of Harleys resonated through Bills neighborhood. His friends had come home to let his family know they were near.
Bills' family was too devastated to talk so Snyder, the faithful friend, spoke for them.
"Warren was tough. Not much stuck to him. He took things with a grain of salt. He loved his motorcycles, his kids, and grandkids," said Snyder.
No one knows why Patrick lost control of his tow truck. His family thinks a medical condition may be the reason.
Patrick had a heart transplant eight years ago. His son Doug said, "I am really sorry...my whole family is sorry. We both lost good men. It was a tragic accident."
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.