PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER ASSISTS FELLOW DRIVER STRUCK BY PASSING MOTORIST
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Terry Whittington of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a professional truck driver with ABF Freight System, Inc. also of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a Highway Angel. He is being recognized for helping a fellow truck driver that was struck by a passing motorist while inspecting his vehicle.
It was 7:30 a.m. in June 2018, Whittington was leaving Fontana, California on Interstate 10 on his way back to his home terminal in Phoenix. He slowed as he saw an accident up ahead of him. Another tractor-trailer was parked on the right shoulder and Whittington could see what appeared to be a tarp lying in the road. However, as he got closer, he quickly realized it was a man lying in the road. Whittington quickly pulled to the right shoulder and ran over to the man, calling 911 as he did so. The driver was conscious and crying out for someone to help him get up.
Whittington learned the man was a driver for Roehl Transport who had pulled over to check his equipment when he was struck by a U-Haul vehicle pulling a car. The U-Haul had drifted toward the right shoulder when it struck the Roehl driver. The man’s legs were badly crushed. Whittington got a jacket from his cab to place over the driver as he was clearly in shock and losing a great deal of blood. Whittington stayed with the driver to comfort him until first responders arrived. He later learned the driver passed away in the ambulance enroute to the hospital.
“It was horrible,” shared Whittington as he thinks back on that day. “I just wanted to sit there and cry.” Over the ensuing days he had a hard time sleeping. “I kept envisioning that poor man and how he was asking me to help him get up. All he did was pull over to check his equipment and now he’s dead. People need to pay more attention when they’re out there on the road.”
Whittington has been a teamster for 32 years and has worked for ABF Freight System, Inc. for three years.
For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA has presented Whittington with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. The company has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.