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Another Truck Driver Saves the Day, Earning His Highway Angel Wings

by Jana Ritter - Published: 7/16/2013

Shelly York of North Little Rock, Arkansas, who drives for ABF Freight System, Inc., is the latest professional truck driver to be honored as the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA's) latest Highway Angel.

Shelley york

Not everyone comes across the unusual situation he saw and not everyone reacts the way Shelley York did either. It was his remarkable response that was brought to the attention of the TCA. On April 5, 2013, at about 4 p.m., York was driving northbound on Smokey Lane near the ABF terminal in North Little Rock. Ahead, he saw something that looked like debris fall out of the back of a pickup truck. However, as he got closer, he recalls his shock as he “looked over and said to myself, ‘That's a kid!'”

Apparently, the 8- or 9-year-old boy had run behind the pickup and attempted to hoist himself onto it. He was unable to hold on and fell off, striking his head and back on the asphalt. He then lay on the road, twisted in pain. Because of the way he was positioned, the child looked more like an inanimate object than a human being, so York feared that oncoming traffic might unknowingly hit him.

York immediately put on his flashers and used his truck to protect the boy from oncoming vehicles. He then went to the other lane of traffic and rerouted vehicles away from the area. He remained on the scene, conducting his one-man response team until professional emergency responders arrived and took over. "In the past, I've helped folks who have had car trouble, but I've never had anything like this!" says York, who has been driving for about 40 years.

Just a few months earlier, Donald Mackin, who also drives for ABF Freight System, earned his Highway Angel wings from the TCA as well. His was awarded for being the only person to reach out to help the victim of an accident during a nasty snowstorm.

On the evening of January 28th, 2013, he was driving on I-495 near Taunton, MA. As he headed back to his terminal, it was snowing heavily with thick, blowing drifts covering the roadway. Up ahead, he saw a vehicle spin and then career down an embankment into the woods. Although it was rush hour, no one stopped to help. Mackin knew the accident could not be seen from the road, so he pulled over and called 911 and went to the aid of the stricken motorist, bringing the man into his warm tractor to wait until the emergency services arrived.

Mackin, who has been a trucker for more than 38 years, said: “I go by hundreds of accidents a year. I feel I don't have to stop if others are already there at the scene. But this time — when I saw no one else stopping — I knew it was the right thing to do.

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