Alexandria, Virginia

Joel Dees, a resident of Port Orchard, Washington, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). Dees, who drives for Doug Andrus Distributing LLC, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, is being recognized for his quick action in saving a fellow professional truck drivers’ life after she suffered a stroke while alone in her truck.

On the morning of March 1, 2015, Dees started his day in Illinois heading for Sidney, Nebraska.  Just the day before he had been talking with another driver for Doug Andrus Distributing LLC who told him that she would be parking in Sidney for the night. They agreed that Dees would call her in the morning when he was loaded and on the road.

“I called her a couple of times and she did not answer,” said Dees.  After several attempts there was finally an answer. “I thought she had forgotten to put on her headset so I was rousing her to stop fumbling,” he stated.  A sense of concern then crept over him when Dees did not hear her voice but instead a slurring sound. Dees listened closely and thought he heard her say the word “help”. At this point, Dees knew something was terribly wrong.

Dees immediately dialed 911. “She and I talk daily while we are out on the road,” said Dees, “I knew from previous conversations that she had a history of strokes.” After speaking with the Iowa and Nebraska 911 operators and relaying his concerns, an officer was immediately dispatched to the area where the truck was to be parked. Dees stayed on the phone nervously waiting. “I listened as the officer confirmed my suspicion that [the driver] had a stroke while alone in her truck,” he said. Dees immediately notified Doug Andrus Distributing LLC and the drivers’ family to explain what had happened and where she was being treated.

All parties involved were extremely grateful for his quick thinking in this emergency situation.

Dees has been driving for 6 years and makes it a point to stay in touch with other fellow drivers throughout his day.

For his willingness to help, TCA has presented Dees with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decal. Doug Andrus Distributing LLC also received a certificate acknowledging one of its drivers as a Highway Angel.