At approximately 7:00 pm on July 5, 2014, Taylor Truck Lines driver Jose Nuñez was traveling on I-10 westbound near the Okaloosa-Santa Rosa county line in Florida, when he saw a van roll and then come to a stop upside down.
Nuñez pulled off the road and turned on his hazards and ran to help.
When he arrived at the scene, he noticed that the van’s passenger was lying on the edge of the van, with his face buried in the dirt.
Nuñez, a former firefighter, “sensed” that the man’s neck might have been broken, and that he might be dead, so he ran to help the driver, who was still alive and trapped in the van. The van’s driver was screaming for help.
Nuñez attempted to open the vehicle’s door, but it was jammed shut, so he ran back to his truck to get a crowbar to pry the door open.
Even with the help of the crowbar, Nuñez couldn’t get the door to open.
He used the crowbar to bust open a window and crawled inside the van to render aid to the driver.
The van’s driver was bleeding severely, and his leg was “twisted up inside the crushed dashboard,” the TCA reported.
Nuñez cut the man free of his seatbelt, and the man fell into his arms.
By the time Nuñez got the man free, several other motorists had stopped to help. A man and woman helped Nuñez get the driver out of the van, and away from the wreckage.
Nuñez stayed with the man until first responders arrived.
“He would later learn that the passenger had indeed died, and the driver, who may have been intoxicated, was airlifted to a hospital and was expected to recover. An officer from the Florida Highway Patrol later wrote an e-mail to Taylor Truck Line thanking Nuñez for his assistance,” TCA said in a press release.
For his efforts, Nuñez was awarded the Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel award.