WINDSOR, Ont. – If DaimlerChrysler trucker and New Brunswick native Guy Beaulieu never sees anything resembling what happened to him in mid-March he will retire from trucking a very happy man.
Still shaken by the accident where he came within inches of rolling over a woman thrown from her vehicle during a rollover accident on Windsor’s EC Row Expressway, Beaulieu says, “I waited 30 years for it and I can wait another 30.”
Beaulieu, who has driven every route there is between Windsor’s DaimlerChrysler facilities and feeder plants in the U.S., that day was heading for a three-hour run to Holland, Mich., where the company has a plant manufacturing glass windshields.
All of a sudden, a sport utility Ford Sportrak heading in the opposite direction lost control and came bouncing across the medium, overturning in the westbound lanes. “One bounce, two bounces, everything was slowing down, but still happening pretty quick because it probably travelled 500 ft.,” Beaulieu said. “And then at the last bounce this body came out from underneath the wreck” – and was sliding across the pavement in front of him.
Beaulieu immediately tried to steer his truck so that the wheels would be on the outside of the body instead of rolling over the victim. Then he applied his brakes “and hoped for the best.” Beaulieu also prayed the accident victim wasn’t too tall. “I don’t think I dragged her very much, like maybe 10 feet or so.”
After he came to a stop, Beaulieu jumped down and looked on the right side but found no body. Then he looked underneath and found a woman pinned to the rear axle. She “started crying,” he said, adding that’s when a tremendous weight lifted off his shoulders, as he realized he hadn’t hurt her.
Beaulieu won major praise from Windsor police.
Police spokesman Ed McNorton said the police investigating officer said that if it hadn’t been for Beaulieu’s actions, the accident could have been much more tragic.
“He showed extreme skill in driving his vehicle and taking immediate evasive action,” said McNorton.
Once his truck was stopped Beaulieu locked the wheels and assisted emergency workers. “They were very complimentary of his abilities to handle that big rig,” McNorton said.
The accident victim, Jamie Leigh Auger of Amherstburg, Ont., suffered two broken legs, as well as some cuts and abrasions. Beaulieu brought her flowers in the hospital.
Bad as the accident was, Beaulieu has seen some pretty awful driving. “I’ve seen a lot of garbage,” he said, particularly motorists who cut truckers off heading for ramps, or getting between trucks where there aren’t safe stopping distances.