Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Patrick Leblanc and Nathalie Rivard from Notre Dame Du Mont Carmel, Quebec, Highway Angels for aiding driver who fell asleep at the wheel and went off the road. 

It was around a.m. on April 27 and driving team Leblanc and his wife, Rivard, were traveling along Trans-Canada Highway 1 West near Bassano, Alberta. Leblanc, who takes the night shift, was behind the wheel. He slowed as he saw a pickup truck off the side of the road lying on its side. After pulling to the shoulder, Leblanc and Rivard hurried back to check on the driver. Another truck stopped and Leblanc asked the driver to call 911. He then checked on the pickup truck driver. “He was in a state of shock, and his left arm was cut and bleeding,” shared Leblanc. “He didn’t know where he was.” The passenger side of the pickup was completely smashed. Everything in the pickup had flown through the windshield. “He couldn’t find his phone and wanted to call his wife in British Columbia, but he was pretty shaken,” added Leblanc. “I called her for him and told her he would be alright.” As they waited for help to arrive, Leblanc and Rivard gave the driver water from their truck and calmed and reassured him.   

What had happened? “The pavement was dry,” Leblanc shared with TCA. “The driver must have fallen asleep and when he hit the soft shoulder, that woke him up, but it was too late. He probably turned the steering wheel too hard and that caused him to flip over.” As they waited for EMS to arrive, Leblanc cleared debris from the road. Other passersby stopped to ask if more help was needed. The next morning, the pair were relieved to receive a call from the driver’s wife who told them he had needed 15-20 stitches, but would be alright. She thanked them for all they did to help.  

Leblanc has been driving since 1998 and has been with Challenger Motor Freight since 2007. He has stopped many times over his driving career to help others in need out on the road. He received a million mile safety award from Challenger in 2017. Rivard has driven for 10 years. She and Leblanc have been driving together for eight years, traveling throughout the US and Canada.  

The driving team received Highway Angel lapel pins, a certificate, and patches for their efforts. Their employer also received a certificate for acknowledging Highway Angels in their midst.

Since the program’s inception in August 1997, more than 1,250 drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.