An ABF truck driver from Idaho is being credited with braving frigid temperatures while helping a family who had just been in a bad car accident.
On a frigid, December morning, ABF driver Robert Sutton was driving eastbound on I-84 near Pendleton, Oregon, when a pickup truck hauling a rented trailer passed him.
It was approximately 4:00 a.m. and the roads were icy and dangerous.
A quarter of a mile down the road, the driver of the pickup lost control on black ice. The pickup rolled several times. The pickup came to rest on its room. The items in the rented trailer were stern across the highway.
Moments later, Sutton came upon the accident and had to maneuver his truck around the families’ belongings.
Sutton pulled his truck over and went to help the crash victims.
As he exited his truck, Sutton slipped and fell on the icy roadway. He walked along the dirt shoulder of the road to the crashed pickup.
Sutton could see smoke coming from the pickup and worried it might catch on fire.
As he neared the pickup, he nearly tripped on something lying in the snow.– It was a child.
Sutton quickly warped the little girl in his jacket and moved her away from the exposed, slippery highway. Next he scrambled to get to the pickup. The only access he had to the victims in the passenger was through the passenger window.
Sutton had to dig snow from the window to reach the pickup’s occupants. He pulled the mom, dad and sister from the wreckage.
The pickup’s occupants were dazed and bleeding, but they were okay.
Sutton took the family away from the dangerous roadway and placed them safely in his warm truck. He then called 911.
As they were waiting for authorities to arrive, Sutton realized that the smoke from the vehicle was dying down, so he suggested they collect some of the families’ belongings from the wreckage. Sutton gave the father a jacket and the two braved the old to gather the wife’s purse, a diaper bag and any items the family might need.
Without Sutton’s help, the family might have suffered worse injuries from exposure to the frigid temperatures, the father wrote in a letter to ABF.
Sutton remains humble about the event, “I’m a firm believer that it’s our duty as professional truck drivers to help and assist the motoring public if they have an emergency,” he said. “I truly believe that in my heart.”
Sutton is a 34-year veteran who has won numerous driving awards. He was the “Idaho Trucking Association’s Driver of the Year for 2013. He has also won several truck driving championships on the state and national levels and is a member of ABF’s Road Team, a group of 12 professional drivers who represent the company at events where safety skills and road knowledge can be shared with the general public,” the Truckload Carriers Association stated.
For his efforts, Sutton was awarded a Highway Angel award and presented with a certificate, patch and lapel pin.
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.
To nominate a driver or learn more about the program and its honorees, visit the Highway Angel Web page athttp://www.truckload.org/Highway-Angel or Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/tcanews. For additional information, contact TCA at (703) 838-1950 or [email protected].