David Ragland was named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for his actions in aiding two children in the aftermath of a fatal accident.
Ragland was driving westbound on Interstate 40 near Jackson, Tenn., when he saw a car in the eastbound lanes swerve off the road and into the tree line. Immediately pulling over, Ragland crossed the Interstate to the car, which was upside down with smoke billowing from the engine.
Ragland heard crying and screaming from inside the wreckage. Flames appeared and Ragland went back to his truck to grab a fire extinguisher. Other drivers had pulled over to help by then, and when he returned he battled the flames.
Another man used a pocketknife to clear his way through the wreckage to the back of the car and found a survivor. Ragland assisted the man, who pulled out a child still in its car seat. Ragland carried the child to another bystander a safe distance away and returned to the wreck.
Eventually emergency personnel took over. Ragland gave a statement to police where he learned that a second child had also survived the crash. Both of the parents and an 8-year-old girl died.
Ragland drives for Kelle's Transport Service out of West Valley City, Utah, and was an Army veteran. He had been a truck driver for three years at the time of the incident.
“People talk about heroes, but when we have a responsibility to stop, it’s not a choice,” said Ragland. “The crash happened right in front of me – I just wish we could have done more.”
Ragland won a Good Samaritan contest at the office of his employer Kelle’s Transport Service and donated the $100 prize and some of his own money to the surviving children. Office staff and management pitched in and the donation eventually grew to $5,000.
When Ragland donated the money he was able to meet one of the two surviving children.
For his deeds, Ragland was awarded a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decal from the Highway Angel program. Kelle’s Transport Service also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers was a Highway Angel.
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