Alexandria, Virginia

Jared Flach of Theodore, Alabama, a professional truck driver for Groendyke Transport of Enid, Oklahoma, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for retrieving a trapped motorist from a burning car and assisting an unconscious motorist near scene of accident.

It happened at 2 a.m. on November 4 as Flach was heading east coming out of the weigh station in Pensacola, Florida with a full load. That’s when he saw it—a car on fire in the middle of Interstate 10. Other cars had pulled over onto the shoulder. Reacting quickly, Flach stopped his truck a safe distance from the scene, jumped out of the cab, and asked bystanders what had happened: An eastbound car had struck the rear of an 18-wheeler, spun around and was now facing oncoming traffic.

“People were afraid to approach the car because there was a fire underneath the hood and they were afraid of an explosion,” shared Flach.

However, he could see there was someone still in the car. He approached and found a male driver, conscious but in pain, trapped by the steering wheel which was jammed between the man’s ribs and belt. Flach knew he needed to buy some time to get the man out, so he ran back to his truck, grabbed his fire extinguisher and attacked the flames. Without a moment spare, another truck driver handed his fire extinguisher to Flach as soon as his ran empty. A man who had pulled his RV over to assist discharged his extinguisher as Flach went back to help the driver who now told him he could feel the heat at his feet but couldn’t move his legs.

The engine compartment was now on fire. Flach knew the motorist likely had broken ribs and legs but had to take action to get him out of the vehicle. Another driver helped Flach pull the man from the vehicle as flames broke through the firewall and began entering the cab at the man’s feet. They laid him on the grassy shoulder and then rushed back to the car to see if anyone else was inside. It was then that they discovered a woman lying outside the vehicle.

“We didn’t know if she got out on her own or if she’d been ejected,” said Flach. “She wasn’t very responsive.” The two men moved her a safe distance away from the burning car and waited for rescue vehicles to arrive.

Flach shared with TCA that this is not the first time he’s encountered this kind of situation: He used to be a fire fighter and EMT. Thanks to his training, arriving at the scene when he did and following his instincts to rush in and help when others were frozen with fear, Jared Flach likely saved two lives that day.

For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA has presented Flach with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Groendyke Transport also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.