On June 4, 2014, Pottle Transport truck driver Jon Wilbur was heading eastbound on the New York State Thruway, near Portland, New York, when he saw a passenger bus on the side of the road. The bus had blown a tire and was on fire.
The bus’ passengers, who ranged in age from young adult to children, were disembarking from the bus. The bus drivers were standing inside the door of the bus.
“I saw young people, black smoke pouring out of the vehicle, and no one was stopping. I didn’t know if there were disabled people on that bus, or infants, or what,” Wilbur said.
Wilbur pulled his truck off the road, grabbed his fire extinguisher and rushed to help.
He began spraying down the bus. When the extinguisher ran out, Wilbur asked the bus drivers for the bus’ fire extinguisher.
By this time, the fire was blazing. Wilbur saw that passengers were too close to the bus, so he asked them to move a safe distance from the bus.
Wilbur continued fighting the fire, however, it was blazing out of control. The bus’ engine, tires and cargo area were engulfed in flames. Moments later, the bus was fully engulfed.
Eventually, the new York Highway Department arrived, took over and sent Wilber on his way.
Many of the bus’ passengers said that Wilbur’s willingness to take charge and fight the fire is the reason no one was injured in the blaze.
For his efforts, Wilbur has been named the Truckload Carrier’s Association Highway Angel.
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].