The Truckload Carriers Association's latest Highway Angel is Larry Druckamiller of Warsaw, Ind. Druckamiller drives for Ruan Transportation Management Systems of Des Moines, Iowa, and is credited for saving a man's life on a very cold night.
Larry Druckamiller of Warsaw, Ind. drives for Ruan Transportation Management Systems of Des Moines, Iowa, and is credited for saving a man's life on a very cold night.
At about 3 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2012, Druckamiller was driving on Rt. 41 just north of Schneider, Ind. As he headed for his destination to pick up a load, he chose to take a different route than usual.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small light coming from a bean field in the distance. "That's funny...why would a light be on in the middle of a field in February?" he wondered to himself.
Curious, he pulled over and positioned his tractor so the headlights illuminated the field. To his surprise, it appeared a car had rolled three or four times, flipped upside down and landed nearly 150 feet off the roadway and down a steep embankment. Druckamiller figured no one would be inside, but just in case, he came closer. The driver's side was crushed, and then he saw two legs sticking out of the passenger side.
"Are you still alive?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah!" came the relieved response from the 27-year-old driver, who was unable to move and told Druckamiller he believed he had a broken collarbone and ribs, among other injuries. He had swerved to avoid an animal and had been trapped in the cold for more than 1.5 hours, hoping someone would see him. During this time, about 12 vehicles passed by, and each time, the injured driver tried to attract attention by turning on the ignition. He hoped that someone might see his headlights and stop. Little did he know that both the front and rear bumpers of his vehicle had been ripped off, and the only light that was still working was one tiny marker light that illuminated his license plate.
Druckamiller immediately called 911 and told responders where to find them. As they waited for emergency personnel to arrive, he calmed the man down and gave him paper towels for the blood running down his face. It would take three firemen to cut the man out, and Druckamiller stayed until the end to help them carry him up the embankment. The authorities thanked the Ruan driver for his help and commended him for his keen observance. Without him, it is possible that the man could have frozen or bled to death.
"I have no idea why I went that particular way on that particular morning," Druckamiller says. "The road I took is not my usual route; it's much bumpier. Maybe that guy was praying for help, and an Angel sent me that way?"
For rescuing the man, Druckamiller has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch from TCA. Ruan Transportation Management Systems also recognized his actions by presenting him with its Gold "R" Award, the company's highest and most distinguished team member honor.
Since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angels program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the 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.
For more information: www.truckload.org/highway-angel