Alexandria, Virginia

Former professional truck driver Mario Gonzalez of Big Bear City, California, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for attempting to prevent injuries to others on an icy roadway while he was still employed as a driver.

On January 23, 2013, the roads were icy as Gonzalez drove along I-90 westbound in Ashtabula County, Ohio. His wife Debra was with him. Traffic was stopped due to multiple accidents ahead. Suddenly, Gonzalez noticed another tractor trailer jackknifing; it was about to plow into the back of his own unit!

Gonzalez saw that there were several stopped vehicles ahead in the left lane and that the tractor trailer would likely hit them. Thinking quickly, he maneuvered his truck diagonally across both lanes to act as a shield to protect as many vehicles and occupants as possible. Unfortunately, the tractor trailer not only impacted Gonzalez’s vehicle, but also came around the side and hit a car, injuring a mother and her young son. However, when the police arrived later, Debra overheard a state trooper say that Gonzalez was the reason why the mother and boy were going to the hospital rather than the morgue.

“That’s just the type of person my husband is,” Debra said when describing her husband’s character. “He’s always ready to jump in and help.”

Gonzalez, who still maintains his CDL and remains active in the trucking industry as a freight broker agent, is still remembered by the trooper who was there that day. “It is rare to see people putting others before themselves anymore,” he said.

As TCA’s latest Highway Angel, Gonzalez has been presented with a certificate, patch, and lapel pin.

Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.