Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recognizes professional truck driver David Fredericksen of Palm Coast, Florida, as its latest Highway Angel. Fredericksen, who drives for Oakley Transport of Lake Wales, Florida. He is being recognized for being the first on the scene of a terrible car fire and helping save two lives.

On August 11, 2014, at about 5:23 p.m., Fredericksen and his fellow team driver were driving along I-10 near Biloxi, Mississippi, as part of their regular weekly trip to deliver orange juice from Florida to California. Suddenly, a vehicle entered the highway, crossed all lanes, and rammed into a tractor trailer. It struck the semi’s fuel tank, which created an explosion and ignited the vehicle into flames.

Fredericksen grabbed his fire extinguisher and rushed toward the intensely burning car. He was able to push the flames back enough to see the driver desperately trying to kick open the door, which was jammed. The flames were inside the vehicle, but hadn’t reached the occupants yet. He then spotted an infant in a car seat. Forcing open the front door — and choking on the smoke — he pulled the female driver out.  He then opened the back door and was able to extract the infant and hand her to his co-driver. Fredericksen continued battling the fire, along with others who arrived to assist. Moments after backing away from the vehicle, it exploded again.

Although the female driver (the infant’s grandmother) suffered a broken leg, both she and her granddaughter survived the ordeal. Later, Fredericksen and his co-driver were presented with a Certificate of Commendation from the Lake Wales (Florida) Police Department that said: “There are times in our lives when we are faced with challenging or unimaginable obstacles. … You acted with bravery, urgency, and precision during a life-threatening situation, and as a result, two lives were saved. We are proud to know there are heroes like you among us.”

When asked about his role in the incident, Fredericksen said, “If it had been 30 seconds earlier, we would have been in front of the accident and might not have even known about it; if it had been 10 seconds earlier, it would have been our truck that was hit. All I know is we make that run every week. God had a purpose for that lady and her granddaughter. We feel blessed that we were able to help.”

For his selfless actions, TCA has presented Fredericksen with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decal. Oakley Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

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