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Every truck driver is a hero. Truckers work hard to keep our supply chain moving. Every day we can purchase the supplies we need, everything from dish soap to automobiles, thanks to the hard work of truckers. Some truckers, however, truly go above and beyond to keep others safe on the road. Truckers, along with law enforcement and other first responders, see everything that happens on our highways, from road rage to violent crime to deadly vehicle accidents. With the high volume of truckers on the road, a trucker might be the first person on the scene of an emergency. We want to tell you just a few stories about truckers who saved the day, though we could dedicate our entire blog to documenting all the ways truckers are making the world better.
The 13 Truck Drivers on I-696 in April 2018
In Michigan, a man was standing on an overpass in I-696 and threatening to commit suicide by jumping into oncoming traffic below. Before law enforcement could arrive, 13 semi truckers had parked under the overpass, preventing traffic from flowing and the man from jumping. This bought officers time to talk the man into safely exiting the overpass. Who knows what may have happened without the quick thinking and compassion of the truckers who jumped into action at the right time?
The highways are, unfortunately, a site where human sex trafficking can occur, and the truckers who travel our highways every day are a valuable resource in identifying these crimes.
On an early morning in January 2015, Kevin Kimmel was at a gas station in Virginia. He noticed an RV with blacked-out windows, which seemed unusual compared to the family-centered RVs he usually saw. He soon saw the vehicle rocking and was able to see a young woman who appeared to be a minor behind the curtain. He called the local sheriff and was able to see the police escorting a young woman in bad condition away form the scene.
From news reports months later, Kimmel learned that this woman had been kidnapped from her Iowa home and was being held against her will. The couple who had kidnapped her were torturing her and subjecting her to forced prostitution and sexual assault.
Kimmel is a true hero who saved this woman, and it is a reminder of the important role truckers can make in preventing sex trafficking.
On a Friday evening in June 2018, Brian Snell was driving down I-95 in Westward, Massachusetts where he saw a car with no lights on heading the wrong way. Suddenly, the car began to spin out. Snell positioned his car to protect the vehicle and block traffic.
Snell used to be a paramedic, so without hesitation, he jumped out of his truck and ran to the other car. There he found the driver unconscious and began working to resuscitate her. While this was happening, the engine of her car caught fire, so Snell retrieve his fire extinguisher and worked to put out the flames. He retrieved the woman from her vehicle, which was badly damaged.
Snell noticed that her car had hit another vehicle, which had caused her to spin out. Snell saw that the driver of that vehicle had been crushed during the accident. He was able to save the deceased driver’s dog in the backseat. The dog was injured, so Snell made sure it got the care it needed: “We got the dog to a vet and they were able to save and return the dog to the man’s family, which they were very happy about,” he said.
Sometimes truckers carry hazardous materials, and truckers who drive that freight have to make heroic choices to put the lives of others before their own. Randall McDougall, a 63-year-old, was one of those truckers. McDougall was driving in a small Arkansas town when his brakes caught fire. He was driving highly flammable materials, a chemical used in fertilizer. He immediately called 911 and drove as far from others as he possibly could.
On a deserted stretch of the road, McDougall pulled over and started to attempt to put out the flames. Eventually, the fire made its way to the portion of the truck containing the highly flammable chemicals. As the explosion occurred, McDougall was still doing all he could to keep the flames in check and protect others. Sadly, the massive blast killed McDougall, and it left behind a 15-foot crater in the road. The blast was felt more than a mile away and injured three firefighters when it blew out the windows of a fire truck arriving on scene. McDougall saved many lives and is remembered by the community as a hero for his heroic actions that day.
Sometimes truckers are in the right place at the right time. Ricky Shearer, a military veteran who had done two tours overseas, was waiting in a Walmart parking lot in Mebane, North Carolina. After hearing a woman screaming, Shearer ran to find a man lying on the ground who was suffering from a heart attack. The woman next to him was his wife. The pair operated as a team for a trucking company.
Shearer was trained in CPR during his military service, and he immediately jumped into action. He began performing CPR and did not stop working until Walmart employees arrived on scene with a defibrillator. Shearer shocked the man twice before EMTs arrived.
The EMTs worked on the man before declaring that he had passed. Shearer was sad and returned to his truck, but later an EMT stopped by to tell him that the man had survived miraculously. Shearer is a true hero from his military service to his heroic efforts that day.
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