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Philly Tow Truck Operator Killed

April 5, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A tow truck operator preparing to remove an abandoned car was killed on the second day of a massive city effort to rid streets of junked cars.

Wayne Smith, 40, was trying to hook an abandoned sedan to his truck Tuesday afternoon when it fell backward and hit him in the head, police said. He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital.

Smith, who worked for R.T. Automotive Inc., was alone at the time, police said. The accident was being investigated.

Mayor John F. Street, who won a close election on a pledge to clean up Philadelphia’s blighted neighborhoods, launched a program Monday to tow 1,000 cars a day over the next 40 working days.

Street called Smith’s death ``a very unfortunate incident under very unfortunate circumstances.″

The city hired 100 tow trucks, set up a hotline for residents to report junked cars, increased the amount paid to salvage companies and set aside extra land to store abandoned cars.

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