On March 22, 2012, at 8:10 pm, Fed Ex Freight driver Kenny Cass was driving along Martin Luther King Blvd. in Portland, Oregon when he witnessed a pickup truck rear end an 18-wheeler. The pickup truck became wedged the truck’s trailer.
Cass stopped his truck in the road to block traffic and called 911.
Cass then got out of his truck and ran to check on the pickup truck driver. The driver was bloody and disoriented but conscious and talking on his cell phone. Cass next ran to check on the driver of the 18-wheeler. That driver was a little dazed but otherwise okay.
After checking on both drivers, Cass set up reflective triangles to warn oncoming drivers. When he was finished, Cass went back to check on the drivers. As he approached the pickup truck, he noticed there was smoke coming from beneath it.
[pullquote align=”right”]Motorists were passing by, no one stopped to help.[/pullquote]
Fearing a possible fire, Cass broke out the pickup truck’s window and pulled out the driver. He took the man away from the scene and made him sit down.
After depositing the man in a secure spot, Cass went back to get the other driver to safety.
As Cass was leading the semi driver to safety, Cass saw the dazed pickup truck driver running down the road toward oncoming traffic. Cass had to chase the man down and drag him back out of harm’s way.
Motorists were passing by, no one stopped to help.
Twenty minutes after the wreck occurred, paramedics arrived and began attending to the crash victims. By that time, the truck driver had calmed down and was able to drive her truck a few miles down the road to park it.
I’m willing to help anyone and everyone when I can, said Cass, who has spent 24 years in the U.S. Coast Guard and is used to keeping calm and acting quickly in stressful situations. I’m a people person, which is why I enjoy training new drivers and helping them accomplish whatever they set out to do. When one of my students gets a CDL, it makes me feel good. I know that I did my job properly.
“Each year, we receive several Angel nominations that share a common thread: the Angel is either the only person who stops to help, or is one of just a few people,” said Scott Moscrip, president of Internet Truckstop, the Highway Angel program sponsor. “We in the industry are aware of the trend – and this type of high-profile recognition for people like Cass helps the general public see it, too. The trucking industry has heart, that’s for sure!”
Truck drivers are everyday heros and the TCA Highway Angel program recognizes truck drivers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help others.
For his efforts, the Truckload Carriers Association has named Cass the 2012 Highway Angel of the Year.Read about 2011’s Highway Angel
“Cass will be flown to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for public recognition. After the audience hears the story, Cass will be presented with a trophy saluting his willingness to stop and help when no one else did,” TCA said in a statement.
“As Cass is honored before the 34,000-person audience, the event will spotlight not only the Highway Angel program, but the trucking industry in general. The publicity will do much to further TCA’s goal of educating the general public about the good deeds that professional truck drivers do every day in the course of their jobs.”