Alexandria, Virginia

Danny Carmichael, a professional truck driver for Trucks, Inc., of Jackson, Georgia, has been named a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel for helping a motorcycle accident victim who was severely injured.

Carmichael was nominated for the honor by Jessica Riley, the sister of the 24-year-old victim. She told TCA that on August 3, 2009, at about 2:00 a.m., her brother Justin was riding his motorcycle on I-95 in Daytona, Florida, on his way to a camping trip. Apparently, a tour bus came up behind Justin and hit him, sending him flying across the pavement and into the center lane of the three-lane highway. The right side of Justin’s body was scraped “from head to toe,” according to Riley.

Carmichael had just made a delivery and was on his way to pick up another load when he noticed clothing strewn about the highway. “Well, someone lost a suitcase again,” he thought to himself, thinking of the many times he had seen such road debris during his 26 years as a professional truck driver. Then he came upon Justin pinned underneath his motorcycle and had to swerve to avoid hitting him. Bringing the truck to a stop, he called 911, put out reflective triangles, and soothed and comforted the young man. He then used his flashlight to warn other drivers and protect Justin from being hit again.

Soon, other motorists stopped to help, including several other truck drivers, who positioned their trucks around the two men. Their convoy provided headlights to supplement Carmichael’s weakening flashlight and kept other vehicles from slamming into the accident scene as everyone waited for emergency medical assistance to arrive.

Justin began rocking back and forth, probably from the severe pain and head trauma. He was still pinned by the motorcycle, and now gasoline was pouring on him. The other motorists wanted to carry Justin off of the highway, but Carmichael insisted that he not be moved until paramedics could arrive. This proved to be a wise decision, as Justin would later spend a month in the hospital, suffering from a fractured skull, two hematomas in the brain, bone flap, road rash on his right side, and infections in his knees, but he survived and is now recovering.

Carmichael believes he was just in the right place at the right time. “God did all the work; I was just there,” he said modestly.

In her nomination letter, Jessica Riley wrote: “If Danny [Carmichael] was not there at that moment, I don’t know what might have happened. Danny is a true angel. He risked his own life to save someone else’s. … It makes me feel good knowing that there are men like that driving our roads in the U.S.”

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.