The Truckload Carriers Association has named Greg Truitt of Mount Airy, N.C., a Highway Angel, for stopping to help an elderly stranded woman alone on the road.
ABF Freight is based in Fort Smith.
It was 3 a.m. one day in early April, and Greg Truitt was traveling on Highway 460 on his way to Charleston, W. Va., from Roanoke, Va. A storm was coming through. The wind had picked up and it was starting to rain. Suddenly, two deer came across the highway in front of him.
Only one made it, the other lost its footing on the pavement and stumbled. Truitt couldn’t avoid striking it. "I think she went down a little bit before I struck her," he says. "It didn’t feel like it did much damage, but I did need to pull over and check everything out." However, there was no good place to pull over, no emergency lane. "Before I could find a place, I saw a car up ahead backed into the ditch sideways. The front end was sticking out a foot or two into the right travel lane." As he got closer, he could see a white-haired lady in the driver’s seat. There was a handicap placard hanging from the rearview mirror. "We have to be careful," Truitt says, "sometimes you’re being set up for something." But after seeing the elderly lady behind the wheel, he decided to trust the situation. "I figured I better check on her."
Truitt pulled over and positioned his truck, partially blocking the right lane. "Her vehicle was turned sideways, you couldn’t see her headlights, and she didn’t have her four-ways on. Someone could have come by and caught the front end of the car." He grabbed a flashlight and went over to check on the driver. "She thought she was out of gas," he says. "She said she was in her 90s and had come from her sister’s, which was a pretty good way from where she was." He surmises that she may have made a wrong turn and just kept driving. "She told me her son lived in Lynchburg and gave me his name. She couldn’t think of his number, bless her heart." Truitt wasn’t able to find the number on the internet. "I told her I would call 911 to get her some help." He stayed with her until two sheriff’s patrol cars arrived.
Truitt was able to get in touch with the woman’s son a few days later to make sure she was safe. "He was a retired police officer," Truitt says. "He thanked me for stopping and said she’s doing well. I don’t feel like I did anything special. Most of the truck drivers out here are good people. I’m sure 98% of the people that came across that situation would have done the same thing. I’m glad the Lord put me in the right spot at the right time so I could help her. I’m glad it worked out."
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage they have displayed while on the job. Thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsors, DriverFacts and Drivers Legal Plan, TCA is able to showcase drivers like Truitt.