The Truckload Carriers Association is honoring N. Yanke Transfer driver Richard Rossnagel as a Highway Angel for assisting the victims of an overturned SUV. It was Dec. 27, 2008, and Rossnagel was just heading out of Emo, Ontario, Canada, on Highway 71 when a Chevy 4×4 SUV passed him and another tractor-trailer. Just after passing them, the driver of the SUV lost control on the icy road.
The driver overcorrected, hit a snowbank and swerved off the highway into an icy ditch. The vehicle flipped onto its roof and slid another 15 to 25 feet before finally coming to a stop. Rossnagel and the other truck driver both stopped to help. Inside, they found a mother and daughter, both still strapped into their seatbelts. They were shaken up, but stated that they had no serious injuries.
Rossnagel helped them climb out of the SUV through the passenger-side window and then contacted his terminal dispatcher to request that authorities be sent to the scene. “The two women were very lucky to get out with no fatalities, let alone both unhurt,” Rossnagel wrote in an emergency message to his dispatcher. “The highway is like a skating rink … a solid sheet of ice.”
Rossnagel and the other truck driver remained with the two women until the police arrived, followed by an ambulance, which took both victims to the hospital for examination. This is not the first time that Rossnagel has stopped to help fellow motorists: In the last few years, he has assisted two different motorists with car fires, and he also assisted an elderly couple whose car was leaking fuel.
“I’m forever helping people,” says Rossnagel, who received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for his efforts. “I enjoy it very much.” N. Yanke Transfer, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 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.