OOIDA member named Highway Angel for rescue on I-40
January 23, 2020
OOIDA member Charles Jasewicz, a driver for Amherst, Wis.-based H.O. Wolding, has been named a Highway Angel for stopping to help a motorist who was pinned under his vehicle.
Jasewicz was one of seven professional truck drivers recognized this month as Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association. The program acknowledges drivers who displayed exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage while on the job.
Jasewicz rescued the driver on a Friday morning in November of last year. He was driving through New Mexico with a load bound for Lebanon, Tenn., on a route he often takes when headed to and from California.
Jasewicz was about 10 miles east of Tucumcari, N.M., on Interstate 40 when he saw a vehicle a short distance off the road. Abandoned vehicles are common along that stretch of highway, so at first he wasn’t alarmed, he said.
“I wasn’t going to stop. I was going to pass it by, but then I saw legs,” Jasewicz told Land Line.
The engine was still running, and the driver was pinned underneath. He was kicking his legs screaming for help. Contents of the vehicle were strewn over the area.
“It must have cartwheeled and ejected him,” Jasewicz said.
Jasewicz turned off the vehicle. He couldn’t find a jack and couldn’t lift the vehicle off the driver by himself. He was able to lift it enough to ease pressure on the driver, though.
A team of Old Dominion Freight Line drivers saw the wreck scene and Jasewicz struggling. They stopped and helped to lift the car enough so that Jasewicz could wedge a spare tire underneath the car’s bumper to take pressure off the victim’s neck.
First responders arrived on the scene some 30 minutes later and pulled the victim free from the vehicle. Jasewicz later called the hospital in Tucumcari to find out the victim was expected to survive.
Other drivers recognized as Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association, according to news releases:
- Stafford Albertson, a driver for Network Transport, Chattanooga, Tenn., who assisted at the scene of a serious collision involving a van and two trucks. The incident was in October, about 70 miles from Shreveport, La.
- Warren Brownlee, a driver for Fort Smith-Ark.-based ABF Freight System, for stopping to assist motorists who lost control of their vehicle just after Thanksgiving near Dallas.
- Robert Digrazia, an ABF Freight System driver, who stopped to extinguish a vehicle fire help a teenage driver escape from the car on Sept. 10 enroute to Bradenton, Fla., to pick up a load.
- Linden O’Donnell, a driver for Cambridge, Ontario-based Challenger Motor Freight, for stopping to help motorists involved in a collision early on Aug. 21 on I-280 near Harrison, N.J. A vehicle struck a stalled SUV in the left lane.
- Charles Vos, a driver for Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Bison Transport, for helping fee an unconscious truck driver from his burning truck. The incident was on I-335 near Emporia, Kan.
- Jeffrey Zeeb, a Bison Transport driver, for stopping to help a motorist who had hit a fallen tree in toe roadway and directing motorists away from the scene. The incident happened early morning on Aug. 18 on his way home in Revelstone, British Columbia.
The Truckload Carrier Association presented the drivers and their companies with certificates. The drivers also received a patch, lapel pin and truck decals, according to a news release. The Highway Angel program started in 1997.