N. YANKE TRANSFER DRIVER EXTINGUISHES FLAMES, SAVES COUPLE’S DOGS, TRUCK AND TRAILER
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to name Gyslain “Juice” Lemelin, a professional truck driver for N. Yanke Transfer of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as its latest Highway Angel.
On October 23, 2011, at about 9:15 a.m., Lemelin was heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway outside of Virden, Manitoba, Canada, when he was passed by two people in a pick-up truck. Accompanied by their two dogs, the couple was on their way home from a wedding and were towing a camper filled with belongings.
As they passed by, Lemelin smelled a burning, chemical-like odor coming from the pick-up. He told his friend (who was talking to him on a headset at the time) that he planned to keep an eye out for the couple. Just moments later, he saw a puff of white smoke in the distance and knew the motorists were in trouble.
“I had a feeling they weren’t going to get very far,” said Lemelin, who has had training as a mechanic. “I’ve smelled that smell before. I knew it was the transmission – transmission fluid is highly flammable.”
By the time Lemelin pulled up at the scene, flames had already spread all over the pick-up’s hood, the battery was melting, and the ground underneath the vehicle was on fire. Had another few minutes gone by, the engine would surely have exploded, and the couple could have lost the contents of their truck and trailer, or worse. Lemelin used his fire extinguisher to put out the flames while the motorists frantically removed their dogs and valuables from the vehicle. When the fire was out, he allowed the couple to use his cell phone to call for assistance.
The grateful motorists later wrote a very complimentary e-mail to N. Yanke Transfer praising Lemelin for his quick actions. “Please tell [Lemelin] that random acts of kindness don’t go without notice, and we are both grateful that he didn’t just drive on by like everyone else,” they said.
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.