PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket man involved in a serious crash on I-95 in Connecticut has succumbed to his injuries more than three weeks later.
Police said John Martins was driving a tow truck just over the border in North Stonington when one of the tires blew, sending the vehicle crashing down an embankment and into a tree before it burst into flames.
Martins, 52, was a prominent businessman in Pawtucket, and his close friends remember him as a humble man with a huge heart.
“I have a broken heart. I’ll miss him,” said Steven Silva, a friend of Martins’ and the general manager of his company, Courtesy Management Group. The corporation owns four car dealerships – one in Connecticut, one in Pawtucket, and two in Attleboro.
Silva said what started out as a business relationship quickly grew into friendship and mentoring from Martins.
“He was just a great person, and the hardest working individual I’ve ever come in contact with,” Silva added.
Martins bought his first tow truck as a teenager in the 1980s, according to Silva. The photo to the right is from one of his most recent accomplishments, last year’s grand opening of a Kia dealership in Attleboro, which Silva said is the largest in the Northeast.
“John and the whole group was really proud of bringing it to this point,” he said.
Martins leaves behind three children.
Loved ones say a wake for Martins will be held Thursday, and his funeral will be Friday.