Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Eric Eaton, from Hudson, Ohio, a Highway Angel for his driving skills that prevented a collision under icy conditions from becoming a fatal accident.

Eric Eaton was traveling near Twinsburg, Ohio on January 20, 2019 during one of the worst ice storms of 2019. it was around 11 a.m., and he was in the right lane and driving well under the posted speed limit. As he looked in his side mirror he caught a glance of three vehicles quickly approaching on his left. He took his foot off the gas. As the first vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, crept up next to the front of Eaton’s truck, it lost traction and began swerving. “I started lightly tapping my brake,” said Eaton. “I didn’t want to hit my brakes too hard and create a bigger incident. I had a semi behind me. Next thing I know, the Jeep swerved all the way to the median. It caught it and turned the Jeep sideways, projecting it right back in front of me.” Eaton was already slowed down and tapping the brakes. “There was nothing I could do except brace for impact. My first thought was not to kill someone,” he shared with TCA. The Jeep struck Eaton’s truck, bounced off, and ended up in the median.

It was a quarter mile before Eaton was able to safely stop and pull over. “I turned on the flashers and started running back toward the Jeep,” he said. “In my mind I thought I had killed someone. It (the Jeep) hit so hard and it went flying. The police were already on their way, and before I could get back to the Jeep, a police officer came and picked me up and took me back to my truck.” He told Eaton it was too dangerous for him to be out on the road. “But my major concern was whether there was a passenger in the Jeep as the passenger side was crushed by the impact. Boy . . . I don’t know if they would’ve made it. I kept asking the officer if everyone was okay.” The officer radioed back to the scene and learned the driver wasn’t critically injured and that there was no passenger in the vehicle.

Recently, the young woman who was driving the Jeep sent a note to Eaton and Garner Trucking, thanking him for his quick thinking and safe driving. “Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my life that day,” she wrote. “I believe that the speed you were going and how you maneuvered the truck saved my life, other than Jesus Christ, I truly believe you saved my life and I cannot write the words Thank You enough times.”

In recognition of his efforts that day, TCA has presented Eaton with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. His employer has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, more than 1,250 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.