Werner, Epes drivers named TCA Highway Angels

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Jason Tolliver, a professional truck driver for Werner Enterprises of Omaha, Neb., has been named a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel for helping a fellow truck driver survive a medical emergency. Barry Eckert, a professional truck driver for Epes Transport System Inc., of Greensboro, N.C., has been named a TCA Highway Angel for protecting a young child from harm.

In the early morning hours of May 29, Tolliver was getting ready to leave a customer’s facility when he saw a man lying on the ground and security guards hovering over him. Apparently, William Hoage, a truck driver for Baylor Trucking of Milan, Ind., had been walking toward the rear of his trailer to secure his load when he stopped abruptly and collapsed to the ground.

Tolliver came over to help, found the driver to be unresponsive and immediately began administering CPR. He asked one of the security guards to call 911 and continued to provide CPR until medical personnel arrived and took over. “I took an EMT course after high school, before I got into trucking,” Tolliver says. “It definitely came in handy that day.”

Hoage was transported to the hospital and was treated for a heart attack. He remained in the intensive care unit for several days and was released after about a week. His family later communicated to Werner that they are extremely grateful for Tolliver’s assistance.

On Aug. 19 at about 12:45 a.m., Eckert was driving along Highway 24, a heavily traveled thoroughfare in Beulaville, N.C., when another truck driver flashed his lights, indicating that something was wrong. Almost immediately, Eckert saw a small child on the shoulder of the roadway.

The 6-year-old child was laughing and giggling, flailing her arms and jumping around in just a T-shirt and underwear. She had slipped out of her grandparents’ home and wandered half a mile away and onto the highway. Her grandparents were still asleep and had no idea that the child – one of 11 that they were watching that night – was missing.

Eckert and the other truck driver used their vehicles to block traffic from coming near the girl. Eckert called 911, while the other truck driver attempted to catch the child. Eventually, they were able to calm her down and get her to stay in one place until the police arrived.

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A passing pedestrian who knew the child told them the grandparents’ address, and the police took the girl home. “That busy road was no place for a little girl to be at 1 in the morning,” says Eckert, who has been driving trucks for 22 years. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Officer Brandon Turner of the Beulaville Police Department later wrote to Epes Transport System, praising Eckert for his assistance. “It is with heavy heart to even say that if your driver had not acted quickly, the child very well may have been [struck by a passing vehicle and] killed,” he wrote.