Alexandria, Virginia

Jim Higginbotham of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a professional truck driver for Stone Trucking Company of Kiefer, Oklahoma, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for his willingness to stop and render aid following a serious two-car accident that ejected one of the motorists.

On Friday, May 3, Higginbotham, was heading out of Ramona, Oklahoma on Highway 75 with an oversized load bound for Pierce, Colorado. It was a rainy, drizzly, miserable kind of day he says. Although the posted speed limit was 70, due to the conditions, he was taking it easy at about 50 mph. Then he saw an accident up ahead. Two small cars had collided, one t-boning the other. As he got closer, Higginbotham could see a man lying on the pavement, a ball cap and shoe nearby. He safely slowed and quickly changed lanes to avoid hitting the man and pulled to the shoulder and stopped. Without a moment to spare, he ran back to the scene, worried that oncoming traffic might run over the injured man. He says it looked like the other driver had been southbound on the divided highway and had pulled into a turnaround and attempted a U-turn but ended up t-boning the man’s northbound car. The force of the impact ejected the man who was now lying unconscious and seriously injured on the pavement. Higginbotham frantically began waving his arms to steer oncoming traffic to another lane.

A few minutes later, an off-duty volunteer firefighter came upon the scene and stopped. He rushed over to check on the injured man and told Higginbotham he was breathing. Higginbotham then went to check on the other driver. She was conscious but dazed, confused, and bleeding, likely going into shock. Higginbotham stayed with her until emergency vehicles arrived on the scene 20 minutes later.

Unfortunately, Higginbotham has encountered many situations like this. He is a 10-year veteran heavy-duty wrecker operator but says it’s still a shock to come upon serious accidents. Getting back in his truck, he decided to take his time the rest of the day. He didn’t drive as far as he had planned and gave himself time to reflect and process what he experienced that afternoon.

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