Alexandria, Virginia

Brian Puff of Jacksonville, North Carolina, a professional truck driver for Crete Carrier Corporation of Lincoln, Nebraska, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for his willingness to stop and help at the scene of a fatal accident.

On October 14, 2014, in the late morning, Puff was headed westbound on I-80 near North Platte, Nebraska. An SUV passed him and then suddenly crossed the median. It plowed head-on into a tractor trailer that was heading eastbound. That vehicle burst into flames, but its driver managed to jump out just in time. Too dazed to think clearly, the tractor trailer driver was unable to tell Puff what type of load he was carrying. Puff feared there could be hazardous materials inside the trailer, so he got the man into his truck and drove him a quarter mile up the road to a safe location.

Puff then parked and ran back to the SUV to check on the condition of the driver who had caused the accident. Unfortunately, there was not much that could be done, as he had been mortally injured. Puff stayed with him, comforting him until he passed away.

Then two bystanders told Puff that they thought they had seen children’s clothes in the car, so he began frantically searching through the back seat for possible children – or bodies. He was greatly relieved to find that they had been wrong… no one else was there.

Finally, while waiting for the first responders to arrive, Puff noticed several bystanders taking pictures and videos of the gruesome scene, never offering to help. He yelled at them to get away from the tractor trailer because the type of load was unknown and could be dangerous. The tractor trailer driver finally produced a document showing that his load was not hazardous, so when the police arrived, Puff was able to tell relay this important information and give a statement about what he had witnessed.

“I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that there were no children involved,” said Puff, who performed crash, fire, and rescue services for the U.S. Marines for more than eight years before becoming a professional truck driver.

He continued: “The sad thing was that if the driver of the SUV had been wearing his seatbelt, he would have lived. I just hope he didn’t suffer.”

For stopping and helping that day, TCA has presented Puff with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decal. Crete Carrier Corporation also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by EpicVue. Both organizations are honored to recognize deserving professional truck drivers as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.