A German tourist was hit by a tow truck on April 25, dragged behind it for 200 feet and taken to the hospital with what a fire department spokesman called “major road rash.”
Uwe Walter Shoppel was airlifted by the California Highway Patrol to Marion Medical Center in Santa Maria. Traffic on Highway 1 was blocked in both directions so the helicopter could land on the roadway north of the accident scene.
Shoppel, estimated by police to be in his late 30s, was riding a bike northbound on Highway 1 approximately nine miles south of Lompoc when he was hit from behind by a tow truck traveling approximately 65 miles per hour.
Officer Malone of the Buellton CHP said the tow truck driver did not purposely hit Shoppel.
“This was not a deliberate act; it was just an accident,” Malone said. “If anything, the driver may receive a ticket, but no charges are being pressed.”
Fire Dept. Capt. Charlie Johnson said the patient only spoke German, but this was not a problem because Eric Buelletzer, one of the responding medics, was fluent in German.
“A real fortunate set of circumstances came into play,” Johnson said.