Beloved businessman killed in CT crash

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts

A well-known businessman is being remembered tonight as someone with a huge heart.

John Martins, the owner of several local car dealerships, passed away after being involved in a fiery crash. Tuesday night, hundreds of people he employed are reeling from the loss.

"John was a strong guy, with a strong will to live," says General Manager of Courtesy Auto Group, Steven Silva.

Martins, 52, held on for nearly three weeks after being involved in the fiery crash in Connecticut on September 4th. Martins was driving his tow truck down 95 when he blew a tire and crashed into a tree, causing his truck to burst into flames. He passed away from his injuries on Sunday.

Silva worked alongside Martins for years, watching his empire grow. Martins is the owner of the Courtesy Auto Group, which includes dealerships in South Attleboro, Pawtucket, and Connecticut. He also built Sterry Street Towing Auto and Transport in Attleboro from the ground up.

"He started off as a teenager with an old beat up tow truck and built it into one of the largest transport towing companies in the Northeast," says Silva.

But underneath that drive to success was a huge heart, hosting Christmas dinners every year for those in need.

"John was big guy in stature to begin with and so was his heart. He was always trying to help out the underdog and the person in need," explains Silva.

Which is why his hundreds of employees are reeling from the loss, but they say his presence will never be too far away.

"We love John Martins. He will never be forgotten but he will be sorely missed."

A wake for Martin’s is being held Thursday at Keefe Funeral Home in Lincoln. He will be laid to rest on Friday in Riverside.

© WLNE-TV 2015