The Truckload Carriers Association has named Robert Wheeler of Crestwood, Kentucky, a professional truck driver with Walmart Transportation of Seymour, Indiana, a Highway Angel. He is being recognized for his quick action in helping at the scene when an SUV pulled into the path of oncoming van.
On August 9, Walmart driver Robert Wheeler had just finished dropping and hooking a trailer at Walmart in Greenwood, Indiana. He was heading south on Highway 135 when he saw an SUV pulling out of a strip mall parking lot. Without stopping, the SUV pulled out of the entrance and right into the path of a large commercial van. According to Wheeler, the van had no time to react and crashed into the SUV, t-boning it. Wheeler was traveling behind the van and immediately pulled over. He checked on the van driver first who was dazed but told Wheeler to check on the other vehicle.
The force of the impact had pushed the SUV about 100 feet. All of the vehicle’s airbags had deployed. Wheeler cut away the curtain airbags. Things inside looked very bad. A small child, about two years old, was crying from the backseat. The child’s car seat was nearly on its side. Wheeler got the child out of the car seat and handed him to a woman who had run up and asked to help. He then checked on the woman in the front passenger seat. She was unconscious with critical injuries to her face. A nurse who was driving by stopped to help and attended to her. Wheeler went around to the driver’s side and found that the door had been pushed in around her legs. She was conscious but likely had broken bones and a serious neck injury. Wheeler touched her face, told her not to move her head, and that help was on the way.
“It was maybe just two minutes before help arrived,” Wheeler says. “There was a fire department about a mile down the road. They took the passenger out first, but it took them about 30 minutes to cut the driver out of the car.”
Wheeler says he has seen a lot of bad accidents but this one has really bothered him. “The driver of the SUV simply overlooked the oncoming van. She pulled into his lane and there was no stopping distance. There’s nothing the van could do.” The status of the people in the SUV is unknown.
For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA has presented Wheeler with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. His employer has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.