Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Joseph Wilbur of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a professional truck driver with ABF Freight System, Inc. also of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a Highway Angel. He is being recognized for assisting at the scene of an accident caused by a wrong-way driver.

It was 3 a.m. and Wilbur had just left New Haven, Connecticut and was northbound on I-95. Wilbur is a utility driver for the company but was filling in for someone that night. While driving along, something suddenly caught his attention on the southbound side. Taillights. A wrong-way driver was in the left lane driving north, against traffic. Wilbur immediately called 911 and was connected to a dispatcher with the Connecticut State Police. He managed to keep pace with the wrong-way driver, calling out mile markers and exits along the way to the dispatcher. Thankfully, traffic was light. Southbound drivers were doing their best to avoid a collision. However, Wilbur says the wrong-way driver never slowed down or swerved. As the driver approached a cluster of vehicles, one car didn’t have enough time to move out of the way. The wrong-way driver hit the vehicle head on, spinning it off to the side as the wrong-way driver’s vehicle rolled multiple times, right next to Wilbur, and landed on its roof. Wilbur quickly pulled to the shoulder and jumped the barrier. He could see red flashing lights coming toward the scene. It was an EMT, driving solo on his way back from a transport.

Wilbur and the EMT managed to pull back the driver’s door and found the driver unconscious and hanging upside down, tangled in his seat belt. Wilbur told the EMT he would help him extract the man. The EMT handed him sterile gloves and Wilbur crawled into the car to lift the pressure off the belt as the EMT cut it. They then slid the driver out of the vehicle as he regained consciousness and began thrashing about. Wilbur stayed with the driver, who appeared to have head injuries and kept him still while the EMT retrieved a neck collar. Arriving responders assisted the other driver while Wilbur waited until other EMTs could take over.

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