CFI’S JERRY MILLER PULLS FELLOW DRIVER FROM WRECKAGE MOMENTS BEFORE EXPLOSION
Jerry Miller, a professional truck driver with CFI of Joplin, Missouri has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). Miller, who resides in North Glenn, Colorado, is being recognized for his role in saving the life of a fellow driver.
On March 21, 2018, after fighting winter weather all morning, Jerry and his wife Linda Miller were approaching the Hammond, Illinois city limits and traffic was building up in the lanes ahead. Jerry switched to the middle lane of the freeway to avoid a car trying to pass him, but as he did so, he noticed a semi-truck swerving in front of him. The driver then lost full control of the trailer and hit the guard rail, causing his tandems to burst off the trailer. The truck spun and flipped over, slamming the driver side down onto the freeway.
“The way his cab hit the ground, well I knew the driver was in trouble,” says Jerry. He carefully pulled behind the overturned tractor trailer and put on his flashers, alerting other motorists to slow down. As Jerry got out of his truck and approached the cab, he noticed it was leaking diesel fuel all over the freeway, so he began to stop traffic so nobody would drive through the leak.
Jerry then knocked on the cab door and tried to pull it open, but it was jammed shut and there was no response from inside. He went around to the passenger side where he found the footsteps to the cab had fallen off in the wreck, so he pulled himself into the cab and attempted to wake up the unconscious driver. Jerry managed to get the driver’s seat belt off him and began to drag him out of the cab, when suddenly the driver side fuel tank exploded, sending flames into the air. The explosion caused the driver to regain consciousness and Jerry walked him over to his own semi, parked about 70-feet behind the accident. Just as Jerry began asking the driver questions, the second fuel tank exploded. Had Jerry not been able to pull the driver to safety, he would have been severely injured by the blast.
“It was just a good day to be in the right spot. As a truck driver, we’re out on the highways 22 hours a day. My wife and I both drive 11-hour shifts,” said Jerry. “There are a lot of people that are by themselves when they get into an accident. There are people that just won’t take time to get involved. But that’s not us. We stop. It’s just what we do. Most people keep on driving, but that’s not what we were put on this planet for. I was in the army and we were taught that you don’t leave anybody behind. And I never will.”
Jerry received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for his efforts, and his employer, CFI also received a certificate for acknowledging a Highway Angel in their midst.
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.