The Truckload Carriers Association is honoring Chipman Relocations independent contractor Junichi Shimizu as a Highway Angel for his heroism in helping several victims of a serious accident. On Feb. 20, Shimizu was driving his tractor-trailer westbound along State Route 12 in California. A black BMW was traveling in front of him.
Suddenly, a silver Dodge Avenger traveling eastbound crossed the double-yellow lines and crashed head-on into the BMW, also taking out the front end of Shimizu’s truck in the process. The Avenger then burst into flames. Shimizu swerved to avoid the vehicles and brought his truck to a stop, but instead of taking time to inspect his truck’s damage, he raced over to help the crash victims. Seeing that the driver of the now fully-flaming Avenger was still alive, he busted the glass and yanked him to safety.
By now, other motorists had stopped to help, so Shimizu had time to run back to his truck and get a fire extinguisher, but the fire was out of control. He then turned his attention to the victims from the BMW. “I could see that the driver of the BMW was dead, so I grabbed some moving pads from my truck and covered the body,” Shimizu says. “I wanted to shield it from gawking passersby.”
Fortunately, Shimizu says, the two other passengers in the BMW and the driver of the Avenger survived, despite moderate to severe injuries. When the police arrived, they questioned Shimizu for nearly two hours. “The whole thing was a big mess,” he says, also noting that his truck took more than three months to repair.
But his heroic efforts did not go unnoticed – on April 8, the California Highway patrol presented Shimizu with a certificate of commendation for his actions. Shimizu also received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch for his efforts. Chipman Relocations, an agent of United Van Lines of Fairfield, Calif., and United Van Lines also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.