Stabbed tow truck driver recovering with community support
FULTON - Strangers are showering a tow truck driver with support as he recovers from being stabbed while trying to help a person whose vehicle was on the side of the road.
Allan Baker, 62, was on I-70 near St. Charles Road January 13 when he noticed a green Ford Taurus with its flashers on. He stopped to see if he could help.
"I pulled over behind them because I thought maybe they had kids," Baker said. "And I got out of the truck, and the driver met me by the back of his car and started waving his knife at me. Then while one guy was cutting me on the back of my arm and across my stomach, another guy came around and hit me on the back of the head. Finally they got me down on the ground and started kicking me and hitting me. Next thing I know, I wake up, car's gone, and so is the $600 that was in my bill fold."
Baker was in good enough condition to drive himself to Boone County National Bank and call the police. Authorities took Baker to the hospital, where he spent eight days being treated for a neck injury, that included crushed vertebrae.
Baker said when people heard what happened, they assumed he had closed his shop. But Al's Auto Repair and Baker Towing has stayed open 7 days a week for 35 years since Baker first started his business. That loss of business took a toll with medical bills piling up.
Baker said he's going in to work to sit behind the desk so people know he's healing.
Customers have been coming in daily giving him money to go toward medical bills and keeping the shop open, he said.
Richard Weiman, a customer and fishing buddy in Columbia, started a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $4,000 in five days.
Baker said, "For these people to take their hard-earned money and give it to me so I can stay open in this building, it's way more than I can even handle. And I feel like I don't deserve it, but if it weren't for these people, my shop would probably be closed."
Weiman said, "Al has helped out so many people in 35 years. He'll stop on the side of the road and he won't even ask for money. I know he's grateful, but he shouldn't feel guilty, because people want to do it. He feels like it's charity because they don't want him to pay them back, and he wants to be the one helping. But this is just a small way for people to feel like they've giving back."
Police have yet to identify the suspects.