Trucker Named Highway Angel for Stopping to Help Motorists During Rush Hour Crash

Alexandria, Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named truck driver Rick Ellis, from Lincolnton, NC, a Highway Angel for stopping to offer aid to crash victims after a rush hour multi-vehicle accident. Ellis drives for Dustin Ellis Logging in Lincolnton, NC.
It’s an incredible story: On August 31, 2022, Ellis was driving in rush hour traffic on I-40 in Hickory, NC, around 7:50 a.m., when a multiple-vehicle accident occurred in front of him. Ellis quickly and safely got his log truck to the side of the road and did not hesitate to jump out of his truck to check on two of the vehicles, one of which was over a hundred feet off the road having lost control and went down the side and into the trees.
“I first checked on the car that was rear ended and that driver was ok,” said the former 911Director for North Carolina’s Lincoln County. “I saw others exiting their cars and approaching the vehicle that overturned so I headed off to the woods to check on the truck.”
Ellis initially thought the vehicle in the woods was a large truck and he wanted to be there to help a fellow driver if the truck had turned over or if there was substantial damage to the vehicle, making it difficult to get out. He said the vehicle turned out to be a pickup pulling a tandem axle trailer, hauling pallets. The woman driving the vehicle was extremely upset but appeared to be OK, considering.
“She was frantically trying to call her husband to let him know what had happened and evenhanded me the phone to tell him where she was,” Ellis said as he reassured her that help was coming. “I couldn’t get her out of the vehicle because she (had) a chain link fence against the passenger door and a clump of trees at the driver’s door – I stayed with her until EMS arrived and took over patient care.”
Ellis has been driving a log truck for his cousin’s family logging business for many years, and is also a former firefighter/EMT.
“Once a firefighter/EMT, always a firefighter/EMT,” he said, grateful to be able to assist at the accident scene. “I was a volunteer fireman for 12 years and in the 9-1-1 field for 15 – it is a rare occasion that I would be able to be at a scene quick enough to offer any help that wouldn’t already be there.”
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job. Thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsor, DriverFacts, TCA is able to showcase outstanding drivers like Mr.Hancock.