Gary de Vos, TCA's latest Highway Angel.

Gary de Vos, TCA's latest Highway Angel.

Thanks to a hawk-eyed night-driver, one cold and frightened motorist finally got help after sitting by the side of a highway for 45 minutes.

Gary de Vos, a driver for Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada, came across on odd sight in the pre-dawn hours of April 23, 2014. He was traveling on a remote stretch of Highway 1 east of Winnipeg when he came to a wide spot in the road with a dirt shoulder. He noticed a brown-colored heap on the side of the road and decided to investigate. He was astounded to find a man sitting on the dirt shoulder, shivering underneath a brown blanket.

“As a night-time driver who has to pass through a highly deer-prone area, I’m always scanning the roadway left to right because deer are so hard to see,” said de Vos, a 32-year veteran of the Canadian military and a five-year professional driver. “A guy under a brown blanket, sitting on a dirt shoulder in the dark, he blended right in. It would have been so easy to miss him if it weren’t for the movement he made.”

Apparently, the man had hit a deer which caused his car to overturn and skid about 30 feet off the roadway into watery muskeg. The motorist managed to crawl out of the wreck and back to the road, taking a blanket from the car for its meager warmth. He sat there, shivering and seemingly in shock, for more than 45 before de Vos stopped. He said he had counted nearly 30 vehicles that had sped past him without stopping.

De Vos brought the motorist into his warm truck and cranked up the heat. His attempts to get help through the CB radio were unsuccessful, and his cell phone was out of signal range, but he was able to notify his dispatcher about the problem through satellite communication.

Eventually, someone did stop and offer assistance. That person was able to call 9-1-1, and deVos explained what had happened to the operator. De Vos kept the accident victim warm and waited with him until help eventually arrived.

“I’m just glad I could help someone,” he says.

For his good deed, the Truckload Carriers Association has named de Vos a Highway Angel and presented him with a certificate, patch, and lapel pin. Bison Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

To nominate a driver or learn more about the program and its honorees, visit the Highway Angel Web page or Facebook page.