Mother identifies tow truck driver hit, killed on Turnpike near Plantation

Alcohol may have been a factor as driver plows into tow-truck, vehicles on side of road, preliminary investigation shows

A family is grieving after their loved one is killed while doing his job and investigators believe the man that hit him may have been driving drunk.

PLANTATION, Fla. – A family is grieving after a tragic accident on Florida’s Turnpike near Plantation early Saturday morning.

Melinda Cruz-Brooks said it was her son, 22-year-old Darryl Brooks III, of North Lauderdale, who was hit and killed.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Brooks had pulled over around 5 a.m. in his tow truck to help a driver whose car had broken down. That’s when a man in a pickup truck swerved into the shoulder of the road and slammed into Brooks’ truck.

An FHP report stated that the driver of a 2002 Ford 250, driven by a 42-year-old man from Margate, was traveling on the outside lane and plowed into the tow truck.

The 2002 Ford 250 that Florida Highway Patrol says smashed into a tow truck pushing it into two other cars and killing the tow truck driver. (Florida Highway Patrol)

Brooks, who was outside of the vehicle at the time of the crash, was injured and taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where he died.

FHP says the driver had veered off the roadway, entering the paved right shoulder and collided with the tow truck, pushing the truck into the disabled vehicle and the vehicle of a relative who had come to render help.

Three lanes of the interstate were blocked for hours as the investigation into how the crash happened continued.

According to the FHP, “alcohol is believed to be a factor and investigators continue to work on the criminal investigation.”

“My child was 22 years old. He didn’t get to experience life, he didn’t have no children, he didn’t get to get married,” Cruz-Brooks said.

The Brooks family is now demanding justice.

“Somebody else’s stupid mistake. You wanted to drive drunk and did not know that you were taking somebody that was loved and was just trying to help someone that was on the side of the road,” the victim’s mother said.

Family members created a GoFundMe page to help the family financially following the tragedy. To visit the page, click here.

The FHP has not confirmed whether anyone else was injured.


About the Authors:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of Local10.com's DigiShorts.