Tow-truck driver is guilty in rival's death

Glen McDaniel apologized to family.
Glen McDaniel apologized to family. (Glen McDaniel)

He was sentenced to life for murdering Ray Santiago by repeatedly running over him with his truck.

Posted: March 29, 2012

Glen McDaniel, the Philadelphia tow-truck driver convicted Wednesday of using his vehicle to murder a rival driver in September 2010, did catch one break: He was found not guilty of causing an accident involving death or personal injury.

But that was only because Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Minehart said that what McDaniel did to Ray Santiago, also of Philadelphia, was no accident.

Minehart then sentenced McDaniel, 27, to spend the rest of his life in state prison without parole after finding him guilty of first-degree murder for repeatedly running over Santiago.

McDaniel's mother shrieked and bolted from the courtroom, shouting, "I want my son. His heart's not like that."

McDaniel, described during the nonjury trial as an "enforcer" for his former employer, Straight Up Towing, was soft-spoken in facing his fate.

"I want to apologize to his mother, his family. I really didn't mean to hurt her son - point blank, period," he said, turning to face the victim's sobbing relatives. "I know it don't mean nothing, but I am sorry."

He testified Wednesday morning that he was so drunk that he didn't know what he was doing and did not realize he had run over Santiago, 30.

Defense attorney Andrea Konow argued that because McDaniel was impaired, he did not act with malice and lacked the intent to murder and that, therefore, he should be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Assistant District Attorney James Berardinelli said a surveillance video of the early-morning confrontation between McDaniel and Santiago, a rival driver for Siani's Towing, clearly showed a brutal murder by tow truck.

The video, from the parking lot of O'Reilly's Pub at Frankford and Lehigh Avenues, shows McDaniel sideswipe Santiago, then drive over him three times - forward and backward.

Just before the slaying, the men had fought at 2:45 a.m. over towing territory. McDaniel wanted to get even because he had lost the fight, Berardinelli said.

"He got a split lip, and because he couldn't beat him with his fists," the prosecutor said in his closing argument, "he got in his truck and mashed him like a bug."

Contact Mensah M. Dean

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