The Truckload Carriers Association named a team of professional truck drivers as its latest Highway Angels for helping a young family involved in an unusual accident.
Laurent Pennacchio and Olegas Milevskis, both of Regina, Saskatchewan, drive for the Yanke Group of Companies in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
It was the early morning of June 29, and Pennacchio was at the wheel, traveling on Highway 17 in northern Ontario. Milevskis was asleep. After coming around a sharp curve in the road, Pennacchio saw a vehicle that had just been involved in a serious accident. A woman and two children were standing nearby.
Pennacchio pulled over and woke Milevskis up. The men gathered safety jackets and flashlights and then approached the vehicle. They were astounded to see a large moose lying on the ground - it had just collided with the car.
The father, who had been driving, seemed injured and was not moving. He was still inside the vehicle. The mother was quite upset. Using her cell phone, she was attempting to describe the location of the accident to a 911 operator, but her unfamiliarity with the remote area made this very difficult. Pennacchio provided the details so emergency personnel could find the scene quickly.
The drivers comforted the woman and asked her permission to take the two children out of the cold and into their warm truck. Pennacchio stayed with the kids while Milevskis assisted with traffic control and waited with the woman. Both men stayed on the scene until the accident site was secured by police.
Later, a constable of the Ontario Provincial Police wrote to Yanke praising the men. "I would like to thank your drivers [for] their assistance at the scene," he wrote. "In this isolated section of highway -- and certainly after dark -- few people are willing to assist people in need. Cell phone service is spotty, which delays the response time of emergency crews, so any initial help is important."
For their efforts that morning, Pennacchio and Milevskis received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. The Yanke Group of Companies also received a certificate acknowledging that two of its drivers are Highway Angels.
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.
To learn more about the program or to nominate a driver, go to www.truckload.org/highway-angel
or visit the Angel Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/tcanews.