The Truckload Carriers Association has recognized Miller Paving Ltd. truck driver Jeremy Hodder as a Highway Angel for pulling another truck driver from a burning wreck on Sept. 4.
In the early hours of the morning, Hodder was driving his truck when he saw smoke ahead in the distance. Nearing the Highway 401 exit ramp to Highway 404 in Ontario, he saw that a tractor-trailer had struck the steel guardrail and a collector lane support structure, exploding on impact. He decided to pull over and help.
There already were two other people at the accident scene, but they were busy taking photos. No one seemed to have noticed the truck’s driver, who had jumped to the ground and was lying helpless in front of the truck. The driver had a broken knee and what later would be diagnosed as second-degree burns over 15 percent of his body.
Hodder, recognizing the danger the driver was in, picked him up “like a baby” and carried him about 10 feet away from the vehicle, only seconds before the truck, trailer and its contents (paper products and Styrofoam) became completely engulfed in intense flames, leaving nothing but the frame.
“The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) is recognizing Mr. Hodder as a hero,” says Chief Superintendent Bill Grodzinski, commander of the Highway Safety Division. “If it hadn’t been for Hodder’s quick actions in pulling the driver from the wreckage, the outcome of the collision might have been different.”
Hodder reacts to the praise modestly. “If I was in the same situation, I’d hope that someone would do the same for me,” he says. Hodder also pulled someone from a flaming building many years ago. “Maybe I should have been a firefighter!” he jokes.
Hodder received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch for his efforts. Miller Paving, based in Markham, Ontario, also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.