PHOENIX - Protesting fair wages and working conditions in front of Stern Produce as close as Richard Lee is getting to the road at the moment.
"I take my driving very seriously,” he said. “It's my livelihood.”
He almost lost more than his livelihood driving back from Tucson in early December. Lee's semi truck veered into the median, causing a violent, fiery outburst on I-10 just before lunchtime. Lee is not exactly sure how, but he escaped the fireball.
"I'm just so elated nobody else got hurt in the accident,” Lee recalled. “No fatalities, nobody got hurt. I’e seen the video of the truck and it's pretty horrific how it looked. There's no getting around that."
Now Lee and several other employees are asking the company for better working conditions. They are hoping to address concerns about employee's inability to drive due to illness or fatigue.
"I was under all of my DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations. I was under everything, but there were some other circumstances that were involved in this,” Lee said of that day.
But Lee can't talk about the circumstances until after the investigation. Stern can't talk about it either, but the company did issue this statement to 12 News.
"The safety of our workers and everyone else on the highways and roads is our highest priority, and when an employee violates safety rules, we take swift disciplinary action,” the statement read.
As for now, Lee still has his job, but must complete mandatory DOT re-training in order to get back on the road.
Once complete, Lee would love to continue working at Stern Produce, but he does want a few things changed like better benefits and working conditions.PHOTOS: I-10 truck fire