The Truckload Carriers Association recently recognized Christenson Transportation truck driver Paul Leicht of Mt. Home., Ark., as a Highway Angel for using his truck to block off an accident from other motorists who couldn’t see it due to heavy rain.
In a grateful letter written to Leicht’s employer, motorist Merle Pierson described how he had a serious accident while traveling on the southbound lane of Interstate 81, just north of Roanoke, Va. It was raining hard when Pierson’s car hydroplaned, ran into a guardrail and hit another car before coming to a stop across the right-hand lane in the path of heavy oncoming traffic.
While Pierson still was inside his disabled vehicle, he realized that with his car’s lights out and the poor visibility, other motorists might not be able to see the wreck and potentially could crash into him again. But just then he spotted Leicht’s truck, which had stopped about 100 feet before Pierson’s car. “His truck prevented other cars from broadsiding my vehicle,” Pierson said. “I am certain that his action prevented a further collision and possibly serious injury to me and others.”
Leicht also provided Pierson with a large flashlight to further warn oncoming traffic. He waited at the scene until the police and emergency responders arrived. “While your driver could have zoomed by like all the others, he was the only one who stopped,” Pierson continued. “I offered him money in recognition of his assistance, and he declined, saying it was part of his job. Leicht’s actions are a tremendous testimony to him and Christenson Transportation.”
Leicht, who boasts about one million accident-free miles, has helped others before, most notably volunteering his time to help victims after Hurricane Katrina. He received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch for his efforts. Christenson Transportation of Strafford, Mo., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
Since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angels 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 North America nominating truck drivers for the program.