Radio station helps driver who was target of suicidal SUV driver

| Wednesday, October 01, 2003

A local radio station in Orlando, FL, has stepped in to help a trucker who lost his job after he was the victim of an accident.

On Sept. 15, police say Bryan Christopher Randall deliberately swerved his SUV into the path of a tractor-trailer in a small town near Orlando, The Associated Press reported. Randall tried to drown his two youngest children earlier, and then killed his two oldest children while committing suicide by ramming the truck later that day.

Since the accident, the truck driver, Ed Tippie, has been unable to work. Michael Stout, an OOIDA member from Key Largo, FL, said his fellow trucker has been haunted by what he saw that day.

“When this guy pulled out in front of him, he basically had to watch while one of the kids in the car died on the scene,” Stout said.

The Orlando Sentinel said the trucker lost his job soon after. His supervisor at Gipsy's Transport told him to return to work immediately, but Tippie asked for some time, saying he was unable to get behind the wheel. In response, he was let go, the newspaper reported. 

Tippie has other worries as well. His son, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is in need of surgery, and the family does not have health coverage.

As Tippie’s situation became known in the community, a local radio station, WTKS, stepped in to help. The station has broadcast information about the driver’s situation, and has set up a fund at a local bank.

Tammy Utegg, assistant vice president and operations manager at the First National Bank Of Florida branch on Lee Road, said the bank is accepting donations. She was told by officials at the radio station the money will be used to help Tippie and his family with utility bills, their mortgage payment and other expenses.

Donations should be sent in the form of a check made out to the Edward Tippie Relief Fund, Utegg said. The envelope should be addressed to: Edward Tippie Relief Fund, First National Bank of Florida, PO Box 607884, Orlando, FL 32860.

Meanwhile, fellow trucker Stout is trying to spread the word about the benefit, including making contact with various trucking radio shows and Land Line.

“I know most OOIDA members are more than willing to help out with a situation like that,” he said.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mreddig@landlinemag.com.

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