TOWN OF TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW) — Delivery drivers are speaking out following a hit and run crash that killed an operator of a delivery service provider Saturday.
Rafael Medinagonzalz, 28, of Grand Island, died after being dragged by a vehicle after he was struck in the Town of Lockport while trying to tow out one of his vehicles from a ditch.
Nathan Marziale, 38, was arrested and is charged with one felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
We have learned Medinagonzalez is the operator of Far-go Logistics, a delivery service provider for Amazon.
Some employees say there are safety concerns for drivers rushing each day to deliver for Amazon.
Those who worked for his company, Far-go Logistics, gathered Sunday night outside the Amazon facility in the Town of Tonawanda to hold a vigil.
Tavonn Washington works for the delivery service provide. He says unfortunately when a tragedy like this occurs, Amazon is not responsible because the delivery service workers are independent.
“Amazon doesn't have a tow fleet to pull us out. It was always Rafael coming and his wife, to come pull us out,” reflected Washington. “They always preached safety and then this happens."
Washington and a couple drivers at Far-go say Amazon puts too much pressure on the DSP’s to deliver quickly, without thinking of their safety.
“We get extensive work loads and we get timed on our routes, so if you don't perform at that rate, therefore the DSP is forced to cut you off and that's not our DSP owner — that's Amazon telling they're not performing,” Washington explained.
Delivery service providers who do not work for Amazon are in and out of Town of Tonawanda location off River Road all day long.
Washington says Medinagonzalez would always make sure his drivers were safe.
“We all just want change,” declared Washington. “We want Amazon to step up — do more than what they are actually doing. If it wasn't for the DSP’s they wouldn't be able to fill these routes ‘cause Amazon is like over productive."
Washington teared up as I asked him about Rafael saying he was a “really good guy” who was always “laughing”.
“He was always clowning. I remember I got stuck in the ditch one day, he actually came to pull me out and I had just started this job, so I thought he was going to be mad at me, but he pulled up laughing,” recalled Washington.
Far-go employs more than 100-drivers. I placed a call to the company Monday morning, but a person who answered said they could not talk and hung up the call.
Washington says on Saturday he made 180-stops, delivering more than 300 packages.
Amazon issued the following statement late Monday afternoon:
“We are deeply saddened by this incident and are supporting Mr. Medina Gonzalez’ family and the team at Far-go Logistics during this incredibly difficult time.”
Richard Rocha | Senior Public Relations Manager, National Media Relations | Amazon Operations
Amazon also said it is "committed to the safety of drivers" and the communities where it delivers.
Washington is begging motorists to be aware of their unmarked vehicles making daily deliveries.
“I would just tell everybody — treat these four way flashers when we're on the side of the road as you would a state trooper,” Washington described. “Not all people are the speeders. Some people leave out snacks and everything waters and I really appreciate those people.”
Washington has set up a Gofundme page to help pay for funeral expenses.