Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Justin Rockcastle of Wittmann, Arizona, a professional truck driver with Melton Truck Lines, Inc., of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a Highway Angel, for stopping and rendering assistance when a vehicle filled with minors veered off the road and rolled.

It was a miserable day to be on the road. It was May 23 and it was raining and hailing. The air temperature hovered around freezing as Justin Rockcastle made his way along I-70 near Thompson Springs, Utah. Although the posted speed limit was 80, because of the road conditions and low visibility, Rockcastle was going 50-55 mph. Checking his mirrors, he saw a white SUV coming up on his left side. As it got closer, it suddenly began hydroplaning and hit Rockcastle’s drive tires, folding the truck’s fender up. The SUV bounced up, did a 180-degree turn, and was thrown backward into the center median (a ditch) where it rolled multiple times.

Acting swiftly, Rockcastle safely pulled over and ran back to the scene. Three other vehicles had also pulled over. The force of the impact had ripped the doors off the SUV and the contents of the vehicle were strewn across the median. Fortunately, all the occupants had been wearing their seat belts. Only the driver appeared to have any injuries, a gash to the head. They were all dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Rockcastle ran back to his truck and grabbed a first-aid kit and his coat. He gave the coat to one of the passengers as one of the others took the first-aid kit and attended to the driver’s head wound.

Turns out the SUV and the three other vehicles were traveling together. They told Rockcastle they were from Texas and were on their way to California for a mission trip. All of them were minors. Rockcastle noticed all the SUV’s tires were bald.

“They should never have been on the road,” he said. “Safety is a major thing with me. There weren’t any adults along and those kids didn’t have enough experience. Prayers were definitely answered that day.”

For his willingness to assist, TCA has presented Rockcastle with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Melton Truck Lines, Inc. has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.