Alexandria, Virginia

John Gubaci of Calhoun, Georgia, a professional truck driver for ABF Freight System of Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for his willingness to stop and assist a stranded motorist whose vehicle caught fire.

One evening in May 2018, around 6 p.m., ABF Freight truck driver Gubaci was getting ready to end his day. He was driving near Dalton, Georgia on the 150 Connector 3 SW when he saw smoke up ahead. It was blue, indicating a car fire. As he approached the scene, he could see a car pulled over to the side of the road with a woman standing on the shoulder. Flames were coming from underneath the hood of her car. Without hesitation, he safely pulled over to the shoulder, immediately grabbed his fire extinguisher, and rushed over to extinguish the fire which was between the motor and firewall. “I got this,” Gubaci assured the woman who was quite visibly upset.

“It was flaming pretty good by the time I arrived,” said Gubaci. “As I worked on the fire, the woman called 911.” She told Gubaci she had been driving along when she heard a pop, so she pulled over and a moment later her car was on fire. Gubaci figures it was an oil fire. After he extinguished the flames the woman called 911 again and told them the fire was out. She also phoned someone to come and pick her up. “I waited with her for 10-15 minutes to make sure the flames didn’t start up again,” recalled Gubaci. The woman gave him a hug and thanked him for stopping to help her. While other drivers slowed down no one else stopped.

Gubaci has been driving for 25 years and has worked with ABF Freight System since 2006. He’s happy to say although he has come across a number of accidents, he has never been involved in one himself. He says he tries to drive safely and look out for the other person at all times.

For his willingness to assist, TCA has presented Gubaci with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. ABF Freight System has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.