Verspeeten Driver Is Roadside Hero

Trucker Randy Wallace by his Western Star. (Photo: Octavian Lacatusu)

CHATHAM, ON —  A Toyota RAV 4 SUV weighs about 3,500 lbs. Owner-operator Randy Wallace tips the scales at, well, he’s a big guy.

Sufficiently big, that is,  to hoist a RAV 4 off the ground long enough to save a motorist’s life.

In retrospect, he says, he can’t believe he managed the feat, adding, “for days afterward I was sore, from head, to my back and all down my legs.”  

“And don’t,” the Burford, ON,-resident laughed when recounting the incident to, “ask me to do it again.”

He sure wasn’t planning on doing any heavy lifting that sunny September afternoon. He had been on the road for about 90 minutes in his Western Star, pulling a load of auto-part racks from Ontario to Dayton, Ohio, for Verspeeten Cartage. He was traveling at about 100 km/h.

At just a few minutes past three, and although he hadn’t noticed anything coming up in the next lane, he felt his cab shake.

“I’ve been driving a long time; and my truck never shakes like that when a car goes by; it hardly shakes like that when a truck passes.”

He realized that a RAV4 was zipping alongside, in the left lane, very, very close to the truck. And he slowed down as he watched the car zig into the left ditch, zag over to the right, and then, Wallace says, he lost sight of it until it came zooming up out of the ditch and over his hood.

“It was flying straight up like a skidoo coming over a snow bank, it went straight into the air.” And kept rolling down the road “door to door to door to door” until it stopped, upside down in the right hand ditch.

He also noticed, Wallace told, an arm sticking out one of the windows. He thought the worst.

Wallace saw that one of the occupants had escaped the wreck somehow but the person whose arm he saw was still in the overturned vehicle.

He and the other individual ran to the wreck . “I told the other guy — I think he was the driver — that we should rock the car and then when I say ‘now’, I’ll lift and you pull him out.

“So we rocked it back and forth and at one point we lifted it high enough I was able to hold it up for about 10 seconds while he pulled his friend out.”

“By some miracle it happened. And by the time the ambulance got there he was able to say thanks.

“He was hurt pretty bad though.”

Al Garon is Safety Supervisor at Verspeeten. He agreed that Wallace deserves the hero title.

“Helping save a guy’s life is quite an amazing feat,” Garon added, mentioning that he had been involved in a similar incident years ago and helped lift a vehicle. Except, Garon adds, he didn’t hold the car up singlehandedly, like Wallace did.

“I was in pain from head to toe the next day, but when your adrenaline’s going you don’t know what you can do.”

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