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Heroic Truck Driver Purposely Crashes Rig To Save Others

by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/25/2016

A truck driver is being hailed a hero after risking his own life to save the lives of complete strangers by purposely crashing his big rig to avoid hitting them. The incident occurred on Monday when Richard Hughes came upon backed up traffic caused by another accident on the IDL in Tulsa, OK. His selfless act caused him to be pinned inside his truck for several hours before he was rescued but he thankful to come out of the ordeal with only a broken leg.

                                                                truck driver Richard Hughes

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"I just did what I had to do. I mean, I knew I wasn't going to hit them, people," Hughes told the media from his hospital bed. He also said that he never expected he’d ever end up in the hospital from simply doing his job. But driving a big rig has many dangers whether you expect it or not, especially when you’re sharing the road with other drivers. On Monday Hughes had been on his way home after a day of work and was driving his empty tanker truck along the IDL when he suddenly saw people ahead, standing near their crashed cars. It turns those motorists had been trying to avoid hitting a white Nissan that was backing up on the highway after missing an exit. Hughes explained that once he realized he didn’t have enough time to stop and certainly didn't want to risk running over the people, he did what he had to do to save their lives. He slammed his brakes and drove up a concrete embankment, leaving his fate up to God.

                                                                  Truck driver crashes to save others

Hughes said the first thing he thought when he started making the abrupt stop was to pray. “When I seen the big pole coming I just started...I was praying,” he said. “Praying that it wouldn't be my last day. I think God has his hand on me. Yeah, it was scary.” His truck ended up smashing into an overhead signpost and Hughes ended up with his foot pinned in between truck parts and the street pole. While he was certainly thankful realizing that he was still alive, Hughes admits it was pretty hellish being trapped with his leg pinned for two hours, which he said felt more like two days. But he thanks the firefighters who worked tirelessly to get him out of the wreckage. "They kept after it, they were great, they were good. I'm going to see them soon as I get out," he said. Hughes is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.

                                                                  firefighters rescue truck driver

According to firefighters, Hughes had immediately given them the thumbs up that he was okay and kept a brave face as they worked through the mangled machinery to release his leg. They credit their training for the rescue because it’s the exact type of freak accident they are taught to deal with. "We know it's expensive and there are budget constraints in any city or state operation right now, okay, but training is important and we have to continue to spend that money and we ask that everybody support us in that. And the outcome like yesterday shows a need for that," said Stan May of the Tulsa Fire Department.

According to state Troopers the driver who caused the ordeal admitted to backing up on the freeway but said he didn’t know he had caused an accident and left the scene. So far, he has only been sited for improper backing on a roadway. But Richard Hughes is just happy to be alive and says he do it again if it meant saving the lives of others.


Glenda West
Glenda West
A real Hero'! Trucks can't stop on a dime. Means something people are always pulling straight out in front of them. Its plain stupidity. Smith system or not. People just take for granted they can make it. This man saved a life. Trucks crush smaller vehicle's. Only God saved those that make it After there hit by a Diesel. My hats off to him.
Richard A Grambort
Richard A Grambort
If he was a REAL HERO, he would have been paying attention on the road ahead, and noticed that traffic had stopped. Why is it he was the only one who couldn't stop in time? He is negligent of not paying attention, and should be FINED for inattentive driving.
Glenda West
Glenda West
Your have Your opinion. I respect that. I have mine. I never walk in someone else's shoes. I wasn't with this man so I can not answer for him.
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Glenda I have been driving trucks,since I was 18. I'm now 48.. million and half miles accident free. Thats over the road and local city. He wasn't paying attention and goin to fast. Being empty he could of avoided it. But what do I know, im accident free. Never hit anything.. lucky I guess huh
Glenda West
Glenda West
God the Father in Heaven.
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
Yup Indeed
Sam Datson
Sam Datson
Had heard been running a cb this all would have been avoided
John Irwin
John Irwin
Donald Gough I'd tame the arrogance down just a wee little bit. Where you there? I too have 33 years of commercial driving experience and although I can't say that I'm accident free I've come to realize that 99% of million mile accident free drivers usually run local on the same routes, usually have the convenience of not driving in bad weather and run day cabs. It's a proven fact. Not many run the Rockies in winter and run the 5 largest cities in the US. Just saying don't brag brother you might be next to be human and fck up..
Calvin Hazuka
Calvin Hazuka
I drive offensively and defensively it's a must the Smith system is a great tool but let's get realistic half of the drivers on the road will not allow you to keep the proper following distance and that goes for four wheelers and our brother truckers so if you can dodge the fool that will make you have an incident without killing yourself than do so.
Rex Park
Rex Park
Another tanker yanker that was going too fast and not looking ahead. And today's "truckers" are pissed off because Big Brother wants to put dashcams and tattle tales in their rigs. But what do I know? 39 years and 4 1/2 million miles with no violations and no chargeables doing what I was damned good at.
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
You mean besides being a bitch
Rex Park
Rex Park
Conway? REALLY? Suck it sweet britches. Big difference between owner operator and lease driver. Some of us actually had our own operating authority instead of another company's name on the door. I'm done with the bullshit and all you entitlement pansies. It's on you now, so have fun with it.
Kevin Egly
Kevin Egly
I have known Rick 20 years. He was totally exonerated by the police and not issued a ticket. He was traveling empty back to his yard to park. When he came around the corner, there is a dip blocking his view until it was to late. A car that backed up an on ramp caused a four car pile up. His only place to go without killing those blocking the entire road was to drive up the concrete embankment to avoid hitting and killing the people. This was verified by bystanders and those in the accident. One family who he would have killed had he not done what he done visited him in the hospital and tearfully thanked him. So all you know it alls, zip it!
Larry Bradley
Larry Bradley
That's the difference between a real pro driver and a steering wheel holder. Great job and glad you survived my fellow driver.
Randy Schaad
Randy Schaad
Just another driver speeding and not paying attention dig deeper into the story and Im sure the real truth will come out. 34 years driving and I never put myself in that situation, speeding tailgating not paying attention gets you in that situation
John Irwin
John Irwin
I've ditched a 76,000 pound tri-axle dump into a telephone pole, up an embankment, then rolled over to avoid hitting a woman in a skid on ice. Ended up with $1700 in fines and got sued. Still glad I didn't hit her. Karma!
Richard A Grambort
Richard A Grambort
If he would have been paying attention, he would have noticed that traffic had stopped and would have been able to stop in time. The man is not a hero, but is guilty of inattentive driving.
James Canady
James Canady
Easy to judge someone when you weren't there isn't it Mr perfect. ..
Richard A Grambort
Richard A Grambort
Doesn't matter. I didn't need to be there. I have 37 years of ACCIDENT FREE driving semi. And if you are to ask ANY State police or DOT officer, they will tell you if you rear end anyone, you are A) following too close, And B) NOT PAYING ATTENTION. Either one will get you a citation AND a fine!! And, like I said, why was he the only one who couldn't stop in time???
Red Dove
Red Dove
If they cut you off suddenly with no signal how are you going to stop in time?
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
Richard A Grambort wrong.
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
I rearended a car and guess what Mr perfect? I wasn't at fault. Yep you heard right. The car got the ticket genius.
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
Red Dove even if they signal it doesn't mean you can stop when they cut into your lane
Kevin Egly
Kevin Egly
Richard A Grambort you are a know it all and a fool. You have no idea what you are talking about. Rick has 30 years experience and he WAS NOT issued a single ticket. Get you facts before you run your mouth. Before you answer, do some research. It was a split second decision that saved lives.
Bill Hibberts
Bill Hibberts
I don't mean to sound like a heartless sob but if someone's stupidity is going to cause me to wreck I am getting a piece of them first otherwise they drive off like that guy and you are sol
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
I concur
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
It's better to fight the trees than to possibly live with a death on your conscience...their fault or not
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
Insurance company . Told us if have to dodge someone. Get a piece of the vehicle . Or they will say you weren't paying attention or fell asleep. Then say it's your fault.
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
I've driven 41yrs and still counting. Clear driving record
Irwin Thompson
Irwin Thompson
Someone stupid would have been the trucker if he got him self into a situation were he couldn't stop in time for the traffic in front of him. Means he was not paying attention. Hero my ass.
Michael Driver
Michael Driver
There's still the principle of the unavoidable crash. I don't know all the circumstance here, so I'll reserve judgment. Consider this: You're passing a vehicle (on the left, as you should), just as it reaches the middle of your trailer, he blows a front tire, careens under your trailer... Yep, you're at fault because you weren't paying attention and didn't avoid the accident. Reasonable? Happened to ME! On video, etc.. STILL had to spend almost $50k fighting the lawsuit.
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
He was empty. Only thing saved his ass. My opnion he was goin to fast. Being empty, If he was using the smith system he would of had time to stop. Million and half miles accident free so I know what I'm talking about. Glad no one was hurt
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
I'd rather be wrong and have a bad record than kill a couple minivans full of kids. Some of your comments are pathetic and shameless
Kevin Markey
Kevin Markey
spoken like a true doucher hibberts
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
Dashcam works every time
Bill Hibberts
Bill Hibberts
To each their own Kevin
Steve Harrelson
Steve Harrelson
All I've gotta say is they better hope it's not their screw up. I'm damn sure not gonna risk my life to save someone that's a dumbass.
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
I did it in 93' after going around a tree lined curve and traffic was at a dead stop...later found out that that curve has many such accidents. I got lucky and was able to get out of the ditch, but it could have been much worse. The first was a minivan full of 4-5 year old with party balloons..messed me up in the head for about 2 weeks
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
I love the guys that says they been driving 37 years with no incidents. I say bullshit. I been driving 18 years with two. I consider that pretty dam good. One of them was someone trying to get paid. The other was a blown steer that sent me into a guard rail. 2 million plus miles with more than half in the northeast. Our super truckers have probably never been to the big Apple or dealt with New England drivers
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
I'd rather be wrong and have a bad record than kill a couple minivans full of kids. Some of your comments are pathetic and shameless
Kate Campbell
Kate Campbell
You have to ditch the truck If you can. Luckily he is here to tell the tale.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Can't tell you how many times ive ran one on the shoulder and passed five stopped cars doing so. I think most guys would. Great story. Awesome driver!
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
<3
David Manthey
David Manthey
If he was paying attention... That might not have happened... And not paying attention and crashing does not make a hero
Tim Cameron
Tim Cameron
Hey I payed attention today and didn't crash my rig.(hero) right?
William Corley
William Corley
Try driving in Chicago without coming close to one.
David Johnson
David Johnson
Following distance, no distractions Stay in lane, if they cut you off and brake check. Brace for impact, not killing myself for someone else's stupidity.
James McCreight
James McCreight
At least he paid enough attention to think quickly. Sometimes you can't see over a crest on the expressway or around a blind curve. Props to the young man!
Richard A Grambort
Richard A Grambort
If he really had been paying attention,he would have been able to stop in time.
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Bingo!!! Richard A Grambort
James McCreight
James McCreight
I must not have spoken clear enough.
John Eric Capps Jr.
John Eric Capps Jr.
Were you there, Richard A Grambort? Bingo! You can't justify a person for not paying attention. If you had noticed that it was on a OFF ramp. It's hard to tell if there's an accident even at 40mph. If you had read the article, it said he had to crash because there was PEOPLE wandering around near the accident. I'm sure he didn't want run over any of them.
David Smith
David Smith
The person that backed up the interstate should be held financially responsible for everything that happened
Richard Mitchell
Richard Mitchell
Off road it to save another human being? Bet that!!! Don't care who's at fault. I've probably lived more than them, anyways.
John Eric Capps Jr.
John Eric Capps Jr.
I would have done the same and I'm not a trucker either.. He is one lucky dude if he has went further right, his body would have been crunched from the pole impact.
Dave Brendel
Dave Brendel
Back in the day I would of turn the wheel in a heartbeat but not the way these morons drive if they are going to cause a wreck I think I'm hitting them
Steve Harrelson
Steve Harrelson
Why jeopardize your life for someone that obviously doesn't care about theirs or yours
Brad Donovan
Brad Donovan
This is why we need truck only lanes to the left no cars. But he did a great job.
James R Maxwell
James R Maxwell
Accidents are close calls are very scary I don't care who you are, especially when you see their eyes and think they're about to die. I had a lady "Pit" herself and her car was flat across my bumper going down 80 at 60 mph. I slowed, but thought she would roll. I moved my steering wheel right and left in an attempt to shake her. She came off my bumper and went backward at a high rate of speed and slammed the Jersey barrier and collapsed her trunk and the force shot her back at me. Her arms were outstretched and locked on the wheel. Her eyes were as big as dinner plates and the fear in her eyes was evident. I just knew she was going to go under the trailer and be seriously hurt or die. She slammed in my drive tires and spun around and slammed the Jersey barrier again and shot back at my trailer and slammed the duals spinning again and ending up in the second lane of traffic. She was seriously injured, but alive thank God. Even though it wasn't my fault, I never wanted to hurt anyone and you just never know how you'll react until you're knee deep in it. Of course she sued........
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
I love these assholes that cause a wreck then try to get rich....or die trying. Did she lose the case?
James R Maxwell
James R Maxwell
They ended up paying her off before it reached court. These insurance companies do this all the time. It's ridiculous!!!
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
That's why ppl like me will never own a truck. Ever. Assholes!
Sam Datson
Sam Datson
Had he been running a radio cb, this would've been avoidable, hero my ass
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Devils advocate. If he was empty. And using the smith system he would of had time to stop and not wreck. So chances are he was going to fast for conditions.
Craig Warner
Craig Warner
I'm, sorry.......but I don't understand why this driver is a hero. If he hadn't been following too closely (which he had to be if crashing was his only option other than killing someone else). The Smith System works. Never outdrive your brakes.
Chris Morris
Chris Morris
Same thing.. did it once when I was driving dump truck years ago....
Russell Dickerson
Russell Dickerson
Nothing says hero to me. Driving past his limit and not paying attention,..fail.
Robert Earl Williams
Robert Earl Williams
All these negative comments y'all don't know what you would do until you're put in that situation
Jeffery Banks Sr.
Jeffery Banks Sr.
Do people read the article before commenting?? Stupid comments.
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
Only liberals think the trucker should sacrifice for someone else's irresponsible behavior driving
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
Really...I learned about it from a driver in his 60's who had been driving all his life...and that is back 25 years ago and he learned it from his dad who drove. This save myself attitude is about as liberal as it gets. Liberals are about no sacrifices on their part. Jesus said there is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his friend. I get the whole push them off the road attitude...I wanted to PITT a guy today for intentionally cutting me off and slamming on his brakes...i wanted to kill that fucker. I do get it. But I wont
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
So in other words you die for their wreckless behavior. I think not
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
I don't wish harm on anyone but they should pay for their own bad behavior.
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
No.. you take your chances. Making a left turn into your driveway isn't bad behavior. These decisions don't always stem from bad drivers or reckless driving
Bill Hibberts
Bill Hibberts
Yeah I won't purposely hit anyone and will do all I can to avoid but when I started driving logging truck in 1969 the fella that taught me said if it's there fault get a piece of them or they drive away and you are screwed I didn't say run over them and to hell with it
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
Douglas acts like a know it all. Some of his comments don't make sense
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
Exactly Bill Hibberts
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
Aggressive drivers need to pay the prices
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
Larry Peterson I had to take the ditch once back in 93. Blind curve with several cars stopped waiting on a guy making a left into his driveway. And I just know more than you
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
We are talking about people who cut us off and other felony driving habits
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
If they die they die. But I agree with Douglas Coulthard. You never know when a innocent kid is in the car. And no. I'm no fucking tree hugging liberal. I'm a human being that hopes someone is looking out for my family like i would theirs. So yes. I'd put my truck in ditch any day to save even a dip shit
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
And your career would be over
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
Our driver took the ditch to avoid connecting with them. Back in 1985. He got fired. Plus a reckless driving ticket. To avoid the accident. Kept it up rite. Yet took his license. The cars that wrecked . Took off. Didn't stick around for the cops.
Douglas Coulthard
Douglas Coulthard
I did in 93 I didn't even get a write up.
Deb York
Deb York
Real hero !! God Bless you. Glad your ok driver .
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
If a car cuts me off then I take the car out and save myself.
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
Insurance companies will tell you . Get a piece of the vehicle causing the accident. Or the vehicle will drive off. Making it look like you messed up. Is why. Dash cams will cover your ass.now days . From idiots causing accidents
Christopher W. Bryant
Christopher W. Bryant
The Government needs to start revoking licenses and confiscation of vehicles
Steve Harrelson
Steve Harrelson
Agreed, I'm not jeopardizing my life because someone is driving like a jackass
Michael Driver
Michael Driver
He'll still get cited and punished.
Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardson
I would have done the same
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
All the armchair quarterbacks are out I see
Eddie Venatta
Eddie Venatta
Love all the super perfect truckers on here. Were any of you their? Since their is no information in the story. Did the 4 wheeler cut him off with a sudden lane change? Not near enough info to even guess what happened.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
I love the guys that says they been driving 37 years with no incidents. I say bullshit. I been driving 18 years with two. I consider that pretty dam good. One of them was someone trying to get paid. The other was a blown steer that sent me into a guard rail. 2 million plus miles with more than half in the northeast. Our super truckers have probably never been to the big Apple or dealt with New England drivers
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
Roger Dochie Dale Braswell Jr.
The irony of it. Both my accidents were in my home town of Charlotte
Mark A Fitez
Mark A Fitez
If you read the story it's there
Tami Potirala
Tami Potirala
There not their
Scott Guiler
Scott Guiler
Read it again.
Shannon Holbrooks
Shannon Holbrooks
Awesome job driver! May God bless you.
Cory Whittaker
Cory Whittaker
Ive made the same choice as he did.
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Delayed ford freight. Damn glad your ok
Cory Whittaker
Cory Whittaker
Yes it was late lol
Donald Price
Donald Price
You put it in a ditch every time
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Only if there kids in car other wise your road kill.
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
totally correct could not agree more
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
Glad he's going to be ok
Diana Clifton
Diana Clifton
God bless you ♡ ♡
David Robinson
David Robinson
One song says it best... widow maker
Dean Hendryx
Dean Hendryx
Hero
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
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