On the icy, cold winter morning of January 18, 2013, Dart Transit truck driver Brandon Walker was driving south on Highway 92 near Yutan, Nebraska.
The roads were icy. As he was driving, he passed a vehicle that had rolled over. Emergency crews were on the scene, so Walker continued heading south on 92.
Not too far down the road, Walker came upon another accident. An SUV had just collided head-on with another vehicle. The accident had just happened and no emergency personnel was on the scene yet.
Walker, who has worked as a volunteer firefighter for 15 years, stopped his truck and got out to help. He check on the driver of one vehicle and found the driver was okay. He then went to check on the driver of the SUV. The man appeared to be regaining consciousness. As he was assessing the man’s condition, flames started shooting out of the SUV’s engine compartment.
Walker ran back to his truck and grabbed a fire extinguisher. The little device was no match for the increasing blaze. Bystanders were watching the entire scene unfold but none stepped in to help. Walker shouted to them for help in extracting the driver.
The situation was growing more dire by the second. Soon the entire engine was fully engulfed in flames. Walker tried opening the driver’s door, but it was jammed. He and a bystander pulled the victim out of the shattered driver’s side window, then pulled the man a safe distance from the blazing car.
Paramedics arrived, and Walker helped load the injured driver into the ambulance.
The injured man, who happened to be a firefighter and a father of 4, wrote a letter to Dart Transit, “I was very fortunate to have [Walker] stop and help so quickly,” he told Dart Transit Company gratefully. Despite suffering a concussion, skull laceration, two broken ribs, and a sprained ankle and wrist, he said, “I’m okay, but if it wasn’t for what [Walker] did, I wouldn’t be here. I owe my life to [him].”
Walker recalls the accident, “If he had still been in his SUV, he would have burnt up; there’s no doubt about it in my mind,” he said. “I didn’t know he was a fellow firefighter, but it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s second nature for me to help people. When I see stuff like that, my training kicks in.”
For his efforts, Walker was awarded the Truckload Carrier’s Association Highway Angel award. He received a Highway Angel pin, certificate and patch.
TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored 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.
To learn more about the Highway Angel program or to nominate a driver, please visit http://www.truckload.org/highway-angel.