Alexandria, Virginia

Pavel Kolacek of Thunder LLC, High Ridge, Missouri, who is leased to Artur Express of St. Louis, Missouri, has been recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) for helping a motorist who had a medical emergency.

On the morning of Oct. 6, 2012, Kolacek was driving along I-270 on the Illinois side of St. Louis, when he noticed a car exiting onto I-55. The vehicle was a good distance ahead, but suddenly swerved left, back into traffic. Acting quickly, Kolacek safely changed lanes to allow the car back on the highway. The car continued on its path, striking Kolacek’s trailer tandems, spun around and landed in the ditch on the other side of the highway.

Kolacek stopped, called authorities and stayed with the driver until help arrived. Later, the grateful man wrote a letter to Kolecek praising him for stopping to help. The man said he had recently had surgery, but his doctor had not restricted him from driving.

“From the time I got that cold sweat and knew I was going to pass out, all I wanted to do was pull over,” the man wrote. “I don’t remember anything until I came to in the trees/brush. … I didn’t know I hit anyone, and I wasn’t even sure where I was. Then I heard you coming [toward me]. … It was a really bad situation that could have been a lot worse. … I’ve got a whole new respect for truck drivers.”

Due to Kolacek’s quick thinking, a potential disaster was averted that day. For being named a Highway Angel, Kolacek has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Artur Express also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its contractors is a Highway Angel.

The Highway Angel program is sponsored for TCA by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.