TERRY HARPER EARNS TCA HIGHWAY ANGEL WINGS FOR ASSISTING AT SCENE OF OVERTURNED PICKUP TRUCK
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Terry Harper from Wichita, Kansas a Highway Angel for stopping to direct traffic following a vehicle rollover.
One evening in late December, Harper was traveling on U.S. 54 near Texhoma, Oklahoma on his way to Wichita when he came upon an overturned pickup truck in the middle of the road. “It was after 7 p.m. so it was dark out and the pickup was laying perpendicular to the road,” he shared with TCA. “It was hard to see it. It was across both lanes and vehicles were trying to go around it.” A woman was standing in the road and flagged Harper down as he approached. “She jumped right in front of me,” he recalled. “I had to move to avoid hitting her. It freaked me out.” She asked Harper to maneuver his truck to block traffic as other drivers were narrowly missing the overturned pickup. “I wasn’t sure if I should do that,” said Harper. Instead, he pulled to the right lane and shoulder.
The driver of the pickup was a young man whom Harper believed to be 17 or 18 years old. “He was sitting in another car with his father and appeared to be okay,” he added. Harper noticed a 30-day tag on the pickup. “The kid was probably new to driving. Maybe his dad had been following behind him.” Someone told him the young driver had reported feeling lightheaded when he was driving. “It was a really old pickup, so maybe there was an exhaust leak,” speculated Harper. “Or maybe there was something in the road.”
Harper grabbed a flashlight and began to halt traffic to prevent other drivers from hitting the overturned pickup. “We had traffic pretty much at a standstill,” he said. An ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes with sheriff’s deputies arriving shortly after that to take over the scene. Harper is thankful that the young man didn’t appear to have any serious injuries although this day is one he likely won’t soon forget.
Harper has been a professional truck driver for seven years and likes what he’s doing. He used to work as a school bus driver. He notes the differences with a chuckle: “Driving semi is better because the freight doesn’t talk back,” he shared. “I don’t need to yell that I’m going to pull over.”
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.