‘KNIGHT OF THE HIGHWAY’ AIDS COUPLE FOLLOWING BIZARRE BLIZZARD INCIDENT
Sam Dyess of Killeen, Texas, a professional truck driver for Melton Truck Lines of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for assisting a couple whose vehicle was pushed into his truck by another truck on a mountain overpass during a blizzard.
On Thursday, November 24, Dyess was just west of Cheyenne, WY going over the mountains on I-80 with a load on his flatbed headed to Washington state. The day was overcast when he’d left Cheyenne and now it started snowing hard. The temperature was in the low 20s. “It was really coming down and I couldn’t see the lines in the road,” said Dyess. He slowed to 30-40 mph. Three to four inches had already accumulated by the time he reached the overpass.
There was another truck up ahead of him and a Jeep Wrangler was traveling between the two trucks. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the truck in front of the Wrangler stopped in the middle of the interstate and the Wrangler stopped behind him. Dyess had plenty of follow distance and stopped 20-25 feet behind the Wrangler. There was another truck behind him. Dyess checked his mirrors and a moment later saw the first truck rolling backward. “We were on an incline. I don’t know if he missed a gear or was sliding,” he says.
The Wrangler shifted into reverse but could only go so far before being struck by the first truck and pushed into Dyess’s truck. Dyess couldn’t roll back because of the truck behind him. The Wrangler’s spare tire was pushed into Dyess’s front bumper and the force blew out the back window of the Wrangler. “I was laying on the horn to get the other trucker’s attention,” said Dyess. “Then it moved forward and took off, never stopping to check on the Wrangler.” The Wrangler resumed driving as did Dyess. He called the safety manager at Melton to report the incident relaying the information he was able to get off the first truck. He followed the Wrangler to the first exit where they both pulled to the side of the road. Dyess jumped out and went to check on the driver and passenger. “They said they were okay and had called the state troopers but were told it would be at least an hour before a trooper could arrive.” Dyess invited the driver and his wife to sit in his warm truck for nearly two hours while they waited. “We had a great conversation,” said Dyess.
Dyess’s good deed that day didn’t go unnoticed. The couple he helped contacted Melton Chairman and CEO, Bob Peterson, with a letter describing the incident first-hand. The driver and his wife were traveling home after a holiday weekend spent with family and were grateful for Dyess’s help. “He offered us water and waited patiently with us. We thanked him for his help and then he said something I won’t soon forget: ‘We are the knights of the highway and it’s our duty to make sure everyone is safe.’ He possesses an attitude and professionalism that should make you proud.”
Dyess is humble about his role that day. “I was just doing the right thing; trying to take care of business and maintain integrity,” he says. “Being a professional driver, it’s about more than just getting from Point A to Point B. You also need to take care of everyone around you; that’s my job.”
For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA has presented Dyess with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. The company has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.