Alexandria, Va. — An Ontario driver is the latest trucker to earn the title of Highway Angel.
The heavenly appellation is granted by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and is bestowed upon truck drivers for the “unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.”
Bison Transport Inc. driver Gary de Vos received his Highway Angel certificate, patch, and lapel pin after rendering assistance to a motorist who had collided with a deer.
Early one dark, April morning, de Vos, who hails from Trenton, Ont., was travelling along a remote stretch of Highway 1 east of Winnipeg when he happened to spot a flash of movement at the side of the highway. When he stopped his truck to see what caught his attention, de Vos found a man, wrapped in a brown blanket, sitting on the dirt shoulder.
About 45 minutes earlier, the motorist had collided with a deer, which caused his car to overturn and skid roughly 30 ft. off the road and into a watery muskeg. The driver managed to escape the wreck, grab a blanket from inside the car, and crawl back to the road, but until de Vos arrived to find the victim shivering and apparently in shock, nobody else stopped to help. The motorist reported counting at least 28 vehicles pass him by without halting.
de Vos put the victim in the truck’s cab, cranked the heat, and attempted to call for assistance, but his cell phone was out of signal range, and he was unsuccessful raising aid over the CB. He was able to get through to his dispatcher over satellite and inform head office about the situation.
Eventually, another motorist stopped to help. Fortunately his cell phone worked, and he was able to call 9-1-1. He also turned that cell phone over to de Vos who waited with the victim until help arrived.
“As a night-time driver who has to pass through a highly deer-prone area, I’m always scanning the roadway left to right because deer are so hard to see” said de Vos. “With the guy under a brown blanket, sitting on a dirt shoulder—in the dark—he blended right in. It would have been so easy to miss him if it weren’t for the movement he made.
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