Jaime Avitia, a professional truck driver for Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution of El Paso, Texas, has been named a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel for helping an accident victim.
On Aug. 31 at about 12:50 a.m., Avitia was driving on Interstate 10 near Balmorhea, Texas, on his way to a company facility in Laredo. Beneath him was Highway 17, which connects to I-10 via a service road and otherwise dead-ends into a dirt parking lot. Avitia noticed a pickup truck below him barreling at high speed toward the dead-end. It suddenly left the roadway, hit a concrete drainage culvert nose-first, flipped into the air and landed upright, losing two tires in the process.
Avitia stopped his truck, got a flashlight and first-aid kit, and ran down the embankment toward the wreck. At first, upon opening the front door, Avitia couldn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat. Then he realized that the driver had not been wearing a seatbelt and had been thrown into the back seat. He had landed in an awkward position, with legs and feet extended into the front seat while his bleeding head hung halfway out the back window.
Unable to find a pulse, Avitia managed to kneel on the front seat, squeeze himself between the armrests, and administer CPR on the man. After four chest compressions, the man finally coughed and began to breathe. Avitia eventually pulled him into the front seat and wrapped a towel around his neck for stability.
Meanwhile, another truck driver had been asleep in his cab in the nearby dirt parking lot. He was awakened by one of the pickup’s tires slamming into his vehicle and came to see what was happening. “Call 911,” Avitia yelled at him. While waiting for authorities to arrive, Avitia put some gauze on the man’s head and spoke to him, assuring him that help was on the way. After about a half hour, the paramedics transported the driver to a hospital, and Avitia provided a written statement for the police.
“You know, I drive a dedicated route that is the same each and every time,” Avitia says. “That particular night, my load was ready early, and I had almost stopped at a truckstop to get coffee, but decided not to because the line was too long. Maybe I was supposed to be there at that exact time to help that guy. I’m just very thankful that I could.”
For the kindness shown to a fellow motorist that day, Avitia has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.