PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER STOPS TRUCK FROM ROLLING BACK INTO FREEWAY TRAFFIC
Mike Chernyak of Rego Park, New York, a professional truck driver for Experior Transport of Alsip, Illinois, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for helping to stop a runaway truck.
At approximately 7 p.m. on New Years Day he was driving eastbound down I-70 in Indiana when suddenly up ahead on the freeway he noticed a flatbed tractor trailer that appeared to be stopped in the middle of the road. He slowed down, assuming there must be a traffic jam. Cars continued to race by his truck, and as he got closer he noticed the truck was not stopped in the road, rather it was slowly creeping backwards towards him. Chernyak pressed his brakes and honked, but the truck continued to roll backwards. He realized there was something wrong so he set his brake, got out of his truck and ran up to see what was wrong with the other driver.
Upon approaching the door, Chernyak noticed that the fellow professional truck driver was hunched over on the steering wheel, unresponsive. Chernyak quickly propped open the door and set the breaks to stop the truck from rolling. He ran back to his truck and parked it parallel to the unresponsive driver’s truck. Immediately, Chernyak called 911 and informed them there was a driver stopped in the middle of the freeway that he suspected might be having a diabetic emergency and perhaps be in insulin shock.
Acting swiftly, Chernyak then went to the passenger’s side to try and get in the truck, but the door would not open, so he had to come back to the left side, maneuvering around cars that were moving at a high speed, and climbed into the cab over the unresponsive driver. Chernyak lifted the fellow driver under his arms and put him in the sleeper berth and jumped into the driver’s seat. Chernyak realized the reason the truck had been rolling backwards was that the truck had been set in reverse, directly into oncoming traffic, potentially causing a massive pile up if he had continued rolling. He drove the truck off of the road and onto the shoulder, and by then a state trooper had arrived on the scene.
At this point the unresponsive driver started to come to and they realized he spoke broken English. Chernyak happened to notice Russian writing on the driver’s cell phone, which Chernyak speaks fluently, so he was able to explain to the driver that EMS was on the way and the state trooper was here to help him. Chernyak then headed back to his own truck and called the driver’s company to let them know what had happened and that someone should come pick up his truck as well as send someone to the hospital to meet the driver.
Chernyak shared with TCA that he called the man’s company a week later and they let him know the driver had been released from the hospital and was doing fine. He sadly hasn’t received full details as to what happened to the driver that caused him to go unconscious, but Chernyak truly is a Highway Angel for putting himself in harm’s way to save that driver and potentially many others on the road that day.
For his willingness to assist his fellow driver, TCA has presented Chernyak with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Experior Transport also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.