A truck driver is being recognized for his bravery and driving skill for his actions when he encountered a wrong way driver on a one lane bridge.
Florida-based truck driver Morgan Kirkland was recently recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) as a Highway Angel for his skill in preventing a deadly head-on collision while hauling hazmat.
According to the TCA, Kirkland was hauling a load of methanol eastbound on Highway 90 around 2 a.m. in late September between Pensacola and Pace, Florida.
Kirkland reached a bridge with only one operable lane due to damage caused by Hurricane Sally. “There was usually a DOT person standing there, monitoring the sides of the road so that no one would use them,” Kirkland said.
However, Kirkland saw lights coming toward him in the rain and soon realized that a car traveling on the wrong side of the road was barreling toward him at full speed.
Because there was a line of cars behind him, Kirkland had few options for maneuvering his vehicle.
“I knew that if I moved to the side of the road, those behind me would have been killed. They wouldn’t have known what was coming … I was able to get a third of my rig into the bad lane, but unfortunately, it resulted in me pinning a vehicle between the bridge wall and the back end of my highly explosive trailer,” he said.
The wrong way vehicle, a Jeep, crashed into Kirkland’s vehicle. “It ripped the entire axle out from under my trailer and just missed my tractor. It scraped along the side of the tank and took out the rear end of the trailer,” he said.
Following the crash, Kirkland got out and went to check on the Jeep driver, who was conscious, and told him not to open his car door as it could cause a spark.
First responders soon arrived on the scene.
The Jeep driver was cited for DUI and for driving the wrong way.
“My worst fear almost came true, that I would die in this truck,” said Kirkland. “What I do for a living scares me to death. I’ve got six beautiful children ranging from 21 to 5 years old. I’ve got a loving wife. I thank God for the speedy recovery of the vehicle and emergency management getting there so quickly.”