PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER STOPS ON BUSY HIGHWAY TO RESCUE SUICIDAL WOMAN
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named truck driver Juan Vasquez, from Wilmington, Delaware, a Highway Angel for stopping his truck in the middle of a busy highway at rush hour and rescuing a suicidal woman on the road.
It’s an inspiring story: On Monday, January 24, 2022 at 7:04 a.m., Vasquez was driving in busy rush hour traffic on I-76, outside Philadelphia, in Gloucester City, New Jersey. He was in the middle lane of a 5-lane highway, when suddenly vehicles in front of him were hitting their brakes and swerving to avoid something in the road. Traveling at 60 mph, Vasquez scanned the road to see any obstacles up ahead.
“I thought, is it a trash bag, is it a box?” recalled Vasquez. “As I was coming closer I realized that it was a person — that’s when I slammed on my brakes.”
Vasquez barely missed the woman in the center lane of the busy highway. He safely stopped his truck, grabbed the woman, stopped traffic in the two right lanes of the highway, and sat her on the other side of the guard rail. He then told her to stay there as he then quickly ran back to move his truck off the road. He then called 911. Vasquez returned to the woman behind the guard rail and asked her what she had been doing on the road.
“She said, ‘I jumped out of my car to take my own life, but that didn’t work,’” he said. Vasquez asked her where her car was, and she responded that she did not know. He kept her safe on the side of the road until police arrived. As he was driving away, about a half-mile up the highway, he spotted her car, abandoned but still moving slowly, scraping the guard rail bordering the far left lane.
“She literally jumped out of her car,” he said. “That’s terrifying – that’s when I came to the realization that I almost killed somebody but I ended up saving somebody’s life, at least for now.”
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Vasquez has been driving with Heniff Transportation Systems, LLC for about 16 months. He said he stopped to assist the woman on the highway because “I care for human beings– that was me just trying to help somebody.”
TCA has presented him with a certificate, patches, lapel pin, and truck decals. The company has also received a letter acknowledging him as a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.