On the morning of November 7, 2012, Con-way truck driver Robert Woolf was traveling along Interstate 90, 100 miles east of Syracuse, New York, when a car passed him. As the road curved, Woolf watched the car travel off the road and rub against the guardrail.
The car maintained its speed as it continued to grind against the guardrail for a quarter of a mile. Car parts and rubber were flying off the car.
Woolf immediately dialed 911.
When the car reached the end of the guardrail, it went across the median and crossed onto the opposite side of the highway, hit that guardrail and bounced back across the median where it finally came to rest.
Woolf disconnected with 911, pulled off the highway, put on his flashers, grabbed some gear from his truck and ran to the car.
As he approached the car, Woolf noticed the driver was confined by the airbag and his seat belt. The driver was unconscious and bleeding.
Woolf attempted to open the driver’s side door but couldn’t get it open, so he tried the passenger door. He was able to get the door open and crawled inside the car.
During his CDL training, Woolf and a few fellow trainees witnessed a similar accident. One of the trainees had medical training. He instructed his fellow trainees to keep accident victims perfectly still to avoid spinal injuries. That advice popped into Woolf’s head as he entered the car. Woolf used his shoulder to prop the accident victim up and used his hand to cup the man’s neck as a makeshift neck brace. Woolf held the man that way until paramedics arrived and took over.
Woolf was shaken and covered in the man’s blood.
“It makes me shake just thinking about it,” said Woolf, “I couldn’t sleep for a week afterward. But you can’t see something like that happen right in front of you and not try to do something… your conscience tells you that you have to [help].”
Read more about what to do if you witness an accident here.
Read more about offering first aid here.
For his efforts, Woolf was presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. Con-way Truckload also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
The Highway Angel program is sponsored for TCA by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.