Sanitation truck driver Aaron Cain of Willmar, Minnesota was taking a load of recycling to the recycling facility when a Peterbilt driven by trucker Jerry Weseman pulled onto the highway, directly in Cain’s path.
Cain tried but failed to avoid the collision. Weseman‘s grain trailer and truck had jackknifed around the sanitation truck Cain was driving.
“I was walking up the ditch to the road,” Cain explained. He’d gotten out of his truck, walked away and then turned and looked at the mess, the two smashed trucks, in the ditch. “Then I thought of the other driver.”
Cain went to both sides of Weseman‘s truck to try to extricate him, but the truck was engulfed in flames. Cain was finally able to grab Weseman and pull him from the burning inferno.
“As soon as I got him out, both trucks exploded,” Cain said.
Weseman was airlifted to the hospital but has since recovered from his injuries. Cain sustained a broken collarbone and some bruising.
“I’m thankful to be here, and for him to be here, too,” Cain said. “According to the first responders, neither of us should be here today.”
This week, Cain was awarded the Minnesota State Patrol’s Citizenship Award. The award is given to those who have performed life-saving acts or taken other actions to make the state’s roads safer
“I don’t consider myself to be (a hero),” Cain said. “I did what I needed to do. I thought about the other guy, and that he’s probably got a family. I didn’t want to just leave him there.”