TCA RECOGNIZES PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER FOR A MIRACLE STOP
Carl Cormier, a professional truck driver for Groendyke Transport of Enid, Oklahoma has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for acting quickly and thwarting a suicide attempt.
On April 30, 2017, he started his typical workday. Cormier had departed Mississippi in the early-morning darkness and began to approach Mobile, Alabama. As he was traveling at a safe speed down I-10, he could make out the faint shape of a person in the shadows running across the road several miles ahead. He assumed they were determined to make it across to the other side, but when the shadow got to the barrier in the median, it stopped and turned toward him.
He was still approaching at a highway speed when the shadow started running. Confused, he attempted to avoid the moving figure by veering to the right to open the left lanes, but the figure, not fully in Cormier’s headlights yet, continued to follow his movements, running back and forth in his lane. Cormier, without assistance from the collision migration system, quickly braked to a complete stop and was finally able to see the figure clearly—a distressed woman.
She was screaming belligerently at Cormier. He couldn’t understand anything she was yelling, but she appeared furious that he had thwarted her suicide attempt. The professional truck driver knew that it was incredibly unsafe to stay stopped on the freeway in the dark, and a truck coming up behind almost hit him. He tried to drive around the woman, but she wouldn’t let him pass.
At this moment, Cormier noticed a man to the side of the road. He stepped out of the shadows and grabbed the woman by the arm. About 20 yards further he saw the woman walking on the shoulder towards a van on the shoulder further up the road. He remembers, “My only thought was that they must have been together and she had a breaking point. It scared me to death because I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.”
It took several days for him to stop thinking about the incident. He says one of his main rules has always been to keep his eyes securely focused on the road, even when driving in his car. He says this is probably why he could spot the situation as early as he did and avoid a tragedy.
“Even though I was able to avoid hitting the woman, it was still very scary because what if I killed that woman? That was the part that upset me,” he shared. “It was by the grace of God that truck didn’t run into the back of me, and that I was able to stop safely and avoid killing that woman. Pay attention, always keep your eyes moving looking for something even if it’s not there. Seems like people pop up at the last minute especially on your right side and get frustrated with us, the truck drivers. But we are just doing our jobs and trying to stay safe.”
Cormier is the epitome of a Highway Angel. He is cautious and alert while driving and truly is the eyes and ears of the industry out on the road.
TCA has presented Cormier with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Groendyke Transport also received a certificate acknowledging Carl as a Highway Angel.