DESPITE INJURIES, PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER RISKS HIS OWN LIFE TO HELP ANOTHER
Guy Knudsen, a professional truck driver for ABF Freight System of Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).
On January 7, 2011, at about 4:50 a.m., Knudsen was driving westbound on I-80 east of Reno, Nevada, when he came around a blind curve in a narrow canyon. Blocking the road was a dark-colored, upside down car with no lights. He swerved, but could not avoid hitting it.
As Knudsen asked his dispatcher to call 911 and was getting out of his truck, another truck approached the scene, and it, too, hit the vehicle. Together, Knudsen and this truck driver attempted to prevent traffic from further hitting the wreck, requiring both to leap over a barrier just to keep from being hit themselves.
When the second truck driver went to his truck for a flashlight that could be used to direct traffic, Knudsen examined the upside down car for signs of a driver. Fortunately, he could not find anyone in or near the vehicle. He scrambled to safety as a second, third and fourth vehicle continually smashed into the upside down car.
Knudsen knew that the driver of the original vehicle must have already been ejected from the car prior to the myriad collisions; however, finding this person in the low visibility and freezing fog proved difficult. He injured himself and risked his own life by jumping over a barricade and sliding down a very steep embankment to the eastbound lanes, which were at least 20 feet below.
There, he found a dazed and confused woman with a head injury walking in circles near the edge of the freeway. He moved her to safety even as the ambulance and police zoomed past them on their way to the westbound lanes located above.
Eventually, Knudsen got the disoriented woman to stay in place while he climbed back up the embankment to notify the authorities where she could be found. Knudsen undoubtably saved the woman’s life.
Knudsen, a seasoned trucker who has been driving for three decades, says that he sees at least 1-2 accidents every week. When he finds himself a situation to help others, he does not hesitate to stop. “Everyone out there on the road is somebody’s son, somebody’s mother, somebody’s father,” he said. “My feeling is that hopefully someone would stop to help me or my family if we ever needed it.”
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.