Alexandria, Virginia

Melby Millirans of Twin Lake, Michigan, a professional truck driver for RM Trucking of Hudsonville, Michigan, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is being recognized for willingness to stop and render aid after a motorist falls asleep at the wheel, veers off the road and crashes.

It was 1:30 a.m. on February 16, 2019 and Millirans was on I-75 heading north out of Ocala, Florida on his way home to Michigan. There was no traffic to speak of and Millirans was settling in for a quiet ride. Just then, an SUV traveling ahead of him, at a high rate of speed, suddenly careened left toward the guardrail. Millirans took his foot off the gas. The SUV then swerved sharply to the right. The vehicle didn’t slow as it ran off the road, down a steep embankment, and crashed into a row of trees. Acting swiftly, Millirans pulled over. He doubted anyone had survived the ferocity of the crash.

Millirans called 911. As he grabbed a flashlight, he told the operator he was hands-free and was running back to check on the car. The horn was blaring and through the heavy smoke; he could see the dazed driver trying to get out of the car. The motorist had severely broken his leg and his foot was nearly severed. Blood gushed from the man’s leg. As the 911 operator told Melby what to do, the anguished driver told him he had fallen asleep. He begged him to check on his daughter who was in the backseat. As a father himself, Millirans dreaded what he might see. He opened the door and found a young girl, 9 years old, with a large contusion on her head. She was conscious and told him her name. As Millirans checked her for other wounds another driver appeared and reached under the hood to shut off the blaring horn which eased some of the tension.

Millirans helped calm the driver as paramedics worked on him. At one point, the man passed out. Afterward, Millirans had to take a moment before getting back on the road. “I wondered if they would be all right,” he said. “The little girl had been crying, in pain, especially when they put her on the gurney.” Thinking of his own family, the professional truck driver called home.

“When I’m driving along, I rehearse what I might do if something happened,” said Millirans. “I think doing that helped me that night. I didn’t panic. You get your thoughts together. You figure out where you’re at, call 911, and grab a flashlight.” Although Millirans has a dedicated run from Michigan to Coral Springs, Florida, that particular week he was sent on a slightly different route through Florida. “It just so happened that the time I’m on that route, I see that kind of accident,” he said. Millirans is a Highway Angel who found himself at just the right time and place.

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