Trucker extracts elderly couple from overturned car

Robert Phillips of Cleburne, TX, an independent contractor leased to American Central Transport, Inc. (ACT), of Liberty, MO, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA) for helping an elderly couple involved in a traffic accident.

On June 5, 2013, at about 3:15 p.m., Phillips had just picked up a load in Alabama and was driving along U.S. Highway 72 in Mississippi on his way to his final destination in Oklahoma. It was raining, and he had slowed down because of poor visibility.

Ahead of Phillips, a vehicle suddenly attempted to turn into a driveway, but was traveling too fast for the weather conditions. It flipped into a ditch, coming to rest upside down. The elderly driver and her husband were now dangling from their seatbelts.

There was too much traffic for Phillips to stop immediately, so he drove a little further until he could safely turn around and return to the scene. By now, some of the couple’s neighbors had arrived, and one had a crowbar. The neighbors joined with Phillips to pull the man out of the vehicle. He appeared to be unscathed, but his wife was unresponsive.

Phillips, who used to be a volunteer firefighter, knew the woman should not be moved until any internal injuries could be assessed. When emergency personnel arrived, Phillips assisted them in removing the woman from the vehicle and stayed on the scene until the situation was under control.

When describing the incident, Phillips said, “I just did what any normal human should have done. It was a group effort, although I am still amazed that no one else from the highway stopped to help - there were lots of vehicles whizzing by. I guess I’m just grateful that the couple is alright.”

For his actions that day, Phillips — who has been driving for about two years — has been presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. American Central Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.

To nominate a driver or learn more about the program and its honorees, visit the Highway Angel Web site at http://www.truckload.org/Highway-Angel or Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/tcanews.

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