Trucker honored after saving toddler playing near highway

September 16, 2022

Ryan Witkowski


Truckers are forced to make plenty of split-second decisions throughout their day. Recently, one driver’s quick thinking may have been the difference between life and death for a 2-year-old boy.

On Aug. 31, Dallas Steiger was traveling north on U.S. Highway 31 in Sherman Township, Mich., when he saw something on the side of the road.

“When I first seen it, I couldn’t really tell what it was,” Steiger told Land Line Now. “But as I got closer, it became clear that it was a child. He had like a toy lawnmower, and his feet were almost on the white line. So he was almost in the road. He was just standing there watching traffic.”

Steiger said the speed limit along that particular stretch of U.S. 31 is 55 mph. Without hesitation, the driver for Ludington, Mich.-based Quick-Way Inc. sprang into action.

“I just I slammed the brakes on in the truck and as soon as I could I got across the highway,” he said. “When I came to a complete stop, that’s when I heard a horn blowing. I don’t know if the horn was honking at me or the child, but either way, it scared him and he took off running away from traffic. So, I mean, that was good … I grabbed his toy lawnmower that was by the road and just followed him down and made sure that he wasn’t going to come back out into traffic until his mom got down there.”

With the child safe, Steiger says both he and the boy’s mother took a moment to collect their thoughts.

“She was pretty shook up. She said she heard the horn honking too, and that’s what got her attention to come check everything out. She was really shook up and just thanking me over and over again. It was a kind of a crazy situation … I’m usually pretty calm, but in that situation – like adrenaline, my heart was pumping – for fear of the child getting hit. It was pretty scary.”

The child’s mother called Quick-Way to express her gratitude for Steiger and the measures he took to save her son’s life. She wasn’t the only one who thought he should be recognized for his selfless actions.

On Sept. 8, the Truckload Carriers Association named Steiger a recipient of the Highway Angel award. TCA presents recipients of the Highway Angel award with a certificate, patches, lapel pin, and truck decals. Steiger was appreciative of the recognition but says he couldn’t imagine reacting any different in that situation.

“I’m not trying to sound cliché or anything, but I didn’t even think it was a big deal,” Steiger said. “It was just something that I figured was the thing for people to do. You know, you see a 2-year-old on the side of the road and you just stop – you stop what you’re doing. There’s literally nothing in your life that could be happening that would be more important than making sure that child is safe. So I honestly just didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. I just thought that’s something that people do.”

He may be being modest. No other vehicles stopped to help on the busy highway. However, the humble Steiger says he wasn’t concerned with what others were doing.

“I wasn’t trying to look and see if other people were stopping or is somebody else going to help him,” he said. “It was just like, ‘get the truck off to the side of the road and get this child away from the traffic.’”

Since 1997, the Highway Angels program has honored nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers. According to the TCA website, the award recognizes “exemplary courtesy and courage they have shown others while on North America’s roadways while on the job.” LL

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