On the evening of February 6, 2012, owner-operator Christopher Fulton had just gotten off of the phone with his wife Teresa, letting her know that he would be home shortly to celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary. Little did the couple know, this would be their last conversation.
As the 38-year-old driver approached a rural intersection in Hampstead, Ontario, a passenger van carrying 15 migrant workers ran a stop sign and veered into Fulton’s path.
Fulton swerved and tried to avoid hitting the van but it was too late. The truck and the van collided. Fulton’s truck flipped on its side, killing him. Thirteen of the van’s occupants also died.
Crash scene investigators determined that if Fulton hadn’t swerved his truck and had hit the van head-on, it was likely that all of the van’s occupants would have been killed. Because of Fulton’s quick reaction, three of the van’s passengers survived.
For his efforts, Fulton was posthumously honored with the Bridgestone Ontario Trucking Association Truck Hero Award.
“It takes an extraordinary human being to do what Chris did that night,” says David Bradley, president of the Ontario Trucking Association. “We should all be grateful for truck drivers like Chris Fulton who go about each and every day quietly, safely and professionally. And sometimes, without warning, they find themselves with a choice to put their own lives at risk to save others. Somehow, brave men like Chris always answer the call.”
At the award ceremony, on video, Teresa spoke about her conversation with the crash survivors.
“Two of the survivors whom I’ve met … did tell me that right before they and Chris locked eyes. So, Chris saw there were people in the back of that van. (They) told me they believed that Chris saved their lives,” she says. “He did the very best he could and he saved three people’s lives. He’s my hero.”
Teresa requested that the prize money be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in Chris’s name.
“Christopher embodies everything a truck hero is meant to be,” said Leighton Watkins, regional fleet sales manager for Bridgestone Canada. “Chris put his life on the line to help others, and though it is a tragic loss of life, we are proud to memorialize his bravery and selflessness with this award.”