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Man was tending to a car that ran out of gas on I-5. A truck hit and killed him

A man coming to the aid of motorists he knew who had run out of gas on Interstate 5 was hit and killed by a passing vehicle late Wednesday.
A man coming to the aid of motorists he knew who had run out of gas on Interstate 5 was hit and killed by a passing vehicle late Wednesday. Courtesy

A man was fatally struck by a pickup truck late Wednesday while filling the gas tank of a vehicle that had stalled on Interstate 5 in Tacoma.

Two young women and a man were traveling south on I-5 when they ran out of gas near the Tacoma Dome. Their Toyota Camry stopped with the back tires partially blocking a lane.

They called Kenneth Oatts, a 43-year-old man who they saw as a father figure, for help.

Oatts hurried to the rescue, parking his own car in a nearby construction zone and walking to the Camry. He was standing at the back of the car filling the tank, which was on the driver’s side, when a passing pickup truck struck him at 9:35 p.m.

“Apparently another vehicle in front of that car had swerved so the driver that hit him didn’t have much time,” trooper Brooke Bova said. “It was a series of unfortunate events.”

The driver of the truck, a 25-year-old Auburn man, cooperated with the State Patrol and was not believed to be impaired.

The people Oatts came to help, two women ages 19 and 24 and a 20-year-old man, were not injured.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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