Fresno tow truck drivers pay tribute to fallen driver nicknamed Bandit

Courtesy: Manuel Valdovinos

Tow truck drivers in Fresno are in shock over the death of one of their drivers. Now the industry is uniting to help the family of a driver affectionately known as Bandit. Baudelio Perez was answering a call for help late Monday night on the Highway 41 transition to Highway 99.

The California Highway Patrol says Perez was fixing a flat tire on a Cadillac when a Honda making the curve hit the Cadillac killing Perez. The driver of the Honda was badly injured. Miguel Valdovinos is a longtime friend of Perez. "That's definitely a kill zone there. That's not a good spot where you want to be standing."

Valdovinos is also a friendly competitor of Angelo's towing, the business Perez started. He says Perez used to build tow trucks then 18 years ago he changed careers and started driving trucks himself. "His name is Baudelio but everyone I'm not sure if they couldn't pronounce his name so they would call him Bandit or everyone also knew him as Angelo." Valdovinos says Perez named his business after his third and youngest child who is a teenager.

Tow truck drivers understand the dangers of helping disabled drivers on busy highways. They just hope drivers will slow down and move over when they see flashing lights. "All you have to do is be safe. Make sure we're safe because we also have families."

The Bandit leaves behind his wife and three children. A memorial car wash is being held for Perez Sunday May 21st from 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. The car wash is at PRAXAIR, 2701 E. Jensen Avenue in Fresno.