The Spirit Ride comes to Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) There was a unique ceremony in Lexington as a colorful, ceremonial casket was transferred as part of "The Spirit Ride."

This was the first stop in Virginia for the nationwide program intended to remind drivers to slow down and move over when passing emergency workers.

Tow truck drivers are not a talkative lot, but this day they had something to say.

“Everybody has a place to go," says Dennis Goodbar of Auto Towing & Repair. "And they’d like to get there safely.”

The message is sent through a brightly painted casket, being transferred at a ceremony from one tow company to Lexington’s Auto Towing & Repair, who will carry it to Glade Hill as part of its nationwide journey.

“There’s like 60 tow operators a year that get killed working along the road," explains Auto Towing & Repairs' Jimmy Southers. "Six or 8 police officers plus firefighters and EMS. You just never know what’s coming at you when you’re outside working.”

And they hope this colorful but solemn symbol will focus the minds of passing drivers.

“And I guarantee you that there will be a lot that takes photos with their cameras going down the road while seeing that," says Goodbar. "And hopefully that will etch it in their mind when they go back and look through their pictures that they need to slow down and move over for everybody.”

“Hopefully, everybody will receive something out of this," Southers says. "And realize the dangers to everyone, even them passing by and getting involved in an accident, to look out for everyone working on the side of the roads.”