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Tow truck driver killed in Interstate 75 drunken driving crash had passion for helping people, family members say

A drunken driver hit and killed a tow truck driver early Sunday on Interstate 75 south of Riverview, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Florida Highway Patrol]
A drunken driver hit and killed a tow truck driver early Sunday on Interstate 75 south of Riverview, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Florida Highway Patrol]
Published Oct. 10, 2016

TAMPA — A tow truck driver killed in a drunken-driving crash early Sunday was a kind, generous father and family man who loved his job, family members said.

Troy E. McGuire, 48, was one of a several tow truck drivers who responded about 4:15 a.m. to Interstate 75 at Big Bend Road to load up three cars that state troopers pulled over for racing, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

McGuire was standing on the shoulder, preparing to load the third car onto his Sun Point Towing truck, when a 2017 Honda Ridgeline driven by Gregory P. Miller approached from the north. Miller, who authorities say was driving drunk, barreled into the shoulder, hitting McGuire and his truck.

McGuire of Ruskin died at the scene. The accident closed the interstate at Big Bend Road for several hours, according to the patrol. Troopers arrested Miller of Lakewood Ranch on DUI manslaughter and property damage charges. As of Sunday night, he was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail in lieu of no bail.

Meanwhile, the news of the tragic loss spread through McGuire's large family. McGuire worked with his father-in-law, Chip Yeatman, at the towing company. When reached by phone Sunday afternoon, Yeatman said he didn't feel up to talking to a reporter. The immediate family was mourning, he said, and doing their best to comfort McGuire's 11-year-old daughter.

Sharon Alfaro, an aunt who lives in Ohio, saw a news story on Facebook that a tow truck driver had been hit and killed in Florida. She was at a loss for words when she realized it was him.

"It floored me," she said.

Alfaro, 51, said McGuire had worked as a tow truck driver for more than 20 years. He loved that he could use the position to help people.

"He loved his job," she said. "He loved people in general."

Another aunt, Christy Wright, remembered that everyone called him "Little Troy" growing up because his father shared his name. She hadn't talked to him in years, but Wright, 54, said she followed McGuire's life on Facebook. He was devoted to his large family, and he was always on call at work, ready to pick up someone who needed help, she said.

"His smile, his kindness …," Wright said, remembering her favorite memories of him. "It breaks my heart."

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn.