The Truckload Carriers Association recently recognized John Barber of Des Moines, Iowa, as a Highway Angel for his selfless actions, which saved the life of a SUV driver. Barber, a driver for Schneider National, was driving northbound on Interstate 530 near Little Rock, Ark., when a black SUV in the left lane swerved in front of him, drove over the shoulder and crashed into an embankment of trees. He carefully parked his truck on the shoulder and ran toward the SUV.
“As I was running, I saw that the SUV had flipped over onto its roof and the top of the trees had been sheered off by the SUV,” Barber says. “When I arrived at the scene of the accident, the driver was halfway out of her SUV, had incurred cuts all over her legs from the glass and was in shock. With the smell of fuel in the air, I had to get her out of the SUV quickly and escort her to a safe distance away from the accident.” Fortunately for the driver, Barber kept her calm and prevented her from wandering onto the oncoming highway traffic.
As Barber kept the accident victim calm, another driver parked his car on the shoulder and called 911. Then Barber waved down a county sheriff who relayed the accident information to his dispatcher. An ambulance arrived on the scene, and the driver was taken to a nearby hospital for the treatment of her injuries. The driver “had been reaching down to pick up her cell phone, lost control of the SUV and crashed into the embankment of trees,” Barber says.
As the first person to arrive at the scene of the accident, he helped the driver out of the SUV and saved her life. “It is no big deal that I helped the driver,” Barber says. “My father was a truck driver for 30 years, and he would be rolling over in his grave if he knew I was being recognized as a Highway Angel.” Barber received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch for his efforts, and his employer, Schneider National, also received a certificate for acknowledging a Highway Angel in its midst. Barber has been driving for Schneider National for two years.
Since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angel program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across the country nominating truck drivers for the program. “The kindness and generosity of these professional truck drivers, who risk everything to save the life of a driver or passenger on our roads, continues to amaze us,” says Nancy O’Liddy, director of public relations and marketing for TCA. “TCA is proud and delighted to provide this program, to highlight the positive impact these drivers have on our roads.”