For putting his own life at risk to rescue the victim of a motor-vehicle accident, Unisource Worldwide Inc. truck driver Leonard “Lenny” Roach (pictured with trophy) has been selected “Highway Angel of the Year” for 2008 by the Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA).
On Feb. 19 just after 5 a.m., Roach was driving eastbound near South Bend, IN, on his regular route along I-94 when he witnessed a car ahead of him hit black ice and careen down an embankment, rolling over several times before landing upside down in a ditch. The motorist, Ernesto R. Soto, undid his seat belt and crawled into the back seat to breathe from a pocket of air as icy water filled his car.
Roach hustled down the embankment and pried open a door to pull Soto, already chest deep in water, out and drag him up to the roadside. With the temperature a brutal -20° F due to the wind chill, Roach put Soto in his warm truck cab until paramedics arrived.
After the paramedics showed up and took care of Soto, Lenny proceeded to finish his route.“Our entire company is proud of Lenny and his accomplishment,” said Jessie Meredith, operations manager of the Unisource facility where Roach is based.