PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER RESCUES BADLY INJURED MOTORIST WHOSE VEHICLE WAS BARELY VISIBLE FROM THE ROADWAY
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is proud to recognize Larry Druckamiller of Warsaw, Indiana, who drives for Ruan Transportation Management Systems of Des Moines, Iowa. He is credited for saving a man’s life on a bitter cold night.
It was about 3:00 a.m., on February 26, 2012, and Druckamiller was driving on Rt. 41 just north of Schneider, Indiana. As he headed for his destination to pick up a load, he chose to take a different route than usual.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small light coming from a bean field in the distance. “That’s funny… why would a light be on in the middle of a field in February?” he wondered to himself.
Curious, he pulled over and positioned his tractor so the headlights illuminated the field. To his surprise, it appeared a car had rolled three or four times, flipped upside down and landed nearly 150 feet off the roadway and down a steep embankment. Druckamiller figured no one would be inside, but just in case, he came closer. The driver’s side was crushed, and then he saw two legs sticking out of the passenger side.
“Are you still alive?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah!” came the relieved response from the 27-year old driver, who was unable to move and told Druckamiller he believed he had a broken collarbone and ribs, among other injuries. He had swerved to avoid an animal and had been trapped in the cold for more than 1.5 hours, hoping someone would see him. During this time, about 12 vehicles passed by, and each time, the injured driver tried to attract attention by turning on the ignition. He hoped that someone might see his headlights and stop. Little did he know that both the front and rear bumpers of his vehicle had been ripped off, and the only light that was still working was one tiny marker light that illuminated his license plate.
Druckamiller immediately called 911 and told responders where to find them. As they waited for emergency personnel to arrive, he calmed the man down and gave him paper towels for the blood running down his face. It would take three firemen to cut the man out, and Druckamiller stayed until the end to help them carry him up the embankment. The authorities thanked the Ruan driver for his help and commended him for his keen observance. Without him, it is possible that the man could have frozen or bled to death.
Looking back on the incident, Druckamiller said he feels God had a hand in what took place that night. “I have no idea why I went that particular way on that particular morning. The road I took is not my usual route… it’s much bumpier. Maybe that guy was praying for help, and an Angel sent me that way?” he speculated.
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.