INDIANAPOLIS — A tow truck driver who was hospitalized after being shot in late March along Interstate 70 in Hendricks County is being honored by local first responders and members of the public.
That driver, Matt Roberts, 38, is recovering at Eskenazi Hospital, where emergency response personnel vehicles will head to in a parade, according to Roberts' employer, Curtis Garage & Wrecker Service, Inc. in Stilesville.
"Matt is a great man, hardworking employee and has strong faith. He loves his family and his friends. He has an uncanny ability of making you laugh and lightening even the darkest of situations," the company said in a statement. "We know that this will bring such joy and happiness to not only Matt but his family."
The company said the parade will meet at 2715 Madison Ave. and follow a route over to the hospital. The participating emergency vehicles will activate their lights in a display of support for Roberts.
Indiana State Police said Roberts was shot several times at a rest stop along the interstate at about 10:15 a.m. on Friday, March 25. He was responding to a call for a stranded driver with a flat tire. That person, who's accused of shooting Roberts, was later identified as Joseph Jackson, 22, of Raytown, Mo.
Police said Jackson had his 4-year-old son with him at the time and took off with Roberts' vehicle with the child inside. He was apprehended shortly afterward.
Jackson was charged Monday with one count each of attempted murder, aggravated battery, neglect of a dependent, conversion of property and carrying a handgun without a license.
Curtis Garage & Wrecker said Roberts was shot a total of five times.
"It’s very surreal and should have never happened but unfortunately it did. I pray for the safety of our employees often but never would I have ever thought that would mean one of them would be a victim of a senseless crime," the company posted on Facebook the day after the shooting. "Matt is loved by all of us at our company. We are like family. He is a very hard working man with incredible work ethic. He’s a jokester and he makes our company better by being a part of it. If you know him at all you know what I’m saying is true."
Tammy Thompson, office manager at Curtis Garage & Wrecker said Roberts is very well-loved.
"I can't wait until he gets to his window to see all those lights shining down to show him that he is loved, so he knows that not just us, but the whole community, and all the other towers are behind him and waiting for him to get recovered," Thompson said.
Chuck McGinnis organized Friday's event. He emphasized the importance of standing with fellow members of the community.
"Matt wasn't in the business that long, but it doesn't matter if you're only in one day, you're family now ... we're going to help you out no matter what, we stick together. It's a big community. We stick together, we help each other out ... We stick together, we've got to because in our job it's very, very dangerous. There are a lot of drivers who get hit," he said.
Curtis Garage & Wrecker said it had received an outpouring of support from the community, including phone calls, gifts, gift cards and donations to Roberts and his family.
It is also asking the community to donate to a GoFundMe page created for Roberts. Donations can also be made to the Matt Robers benefit fund at Citizens Bank, the company said.
"We have always known we’re surrounded by some great people but once again you have shown our company and Matt’s family so much love. I do not know what we would do without people like you in our lives. Thank you as well to all of our fellow towers for everything you have done and are doing for us," the company said on Facebook.
"Pray for complete healing for Matt. Pray for relief of his pain and for him to get some rest. Pray that they have found or will soon find the extent of all his injuries. Please pray for comfort for him. It looks like a long road ahead but he is strong and our God is even stronger."
WRTV has reached out to police for an update on this case.