Alexandria, Virginia          

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named truck driver Shawn Stoltenberg, from Belt, Montana, a Highway Angel for rescuing a driver involved in a fatal crash on a snowy morning. Stoltenberg drives for JNL Brown Trucking Company in Great Falls, Montana. 

On April 12, 2022 at 9:13 a.m., he was driving through Stanford, Montana, on slick snow-covered roads, when Stoltenberg came upon an accident that happened just seconds ahead of him.

“Apparently there was so much snow being kicked up by the semi drivers that you’re blinded – you can’t see,” he shared with TCA. “And I think that’s what happened to these people.”

What seemed like seconds later, a pickup truck pulling a utility trailer struck an oncoming tractor trailer, which then jackknifed, resulting in a head-on collision.

Without a moment to spare, Stoltenberg safely stopped his truck and ran to the mangled pickup. He was unable to open the door to reach the driver nor the passenger, so he retrieved a crowbar from another driver, and with the assistance of another motorist, Stoltenberg was able to pry the driver’s side door open and remove the driver.

“It took about 15 minutes of prying before that door came open,” he recalled. “(The driver) was glad to get out of there.”

Stoltenberg shared with us that the driver had a broken leg and a punctured lung, so he worked quickly to grab some blankets to keep the driver warm.

Stoltenberg then returned to the pickup but discovered that the female passenger, the driver’s wife, had succumbed to her injuries. He then checked on the tractor-trailer driver to ensure he wasn’t in need of assistance.

Both men remained on scene until emergency personnel arrived. “He was asking for help,” said Stoltenberg of the injured motorist. “You just had to help him. If you kept going you would have been cursed for life, because it was bad.” 

TCA has presented him with a certificate, patches, lapel pin, and truck decals. The company has also received a letter acknowledging him as a Highway Angel.

Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.

Special thanks to the program’s Presenting Sponsor, EpicVue, and Supporting Sponsor, DriverFacts