Melton Truck Lines driver Daniel Sieczkarski of Rochester, N.Y., has been named the 2016 Highway Angel for his efforts to save a stranded fellow driver from rising floodwaters last year.
Sieczkarski was recognized at the Truckload Carriers Association's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. The Highway Angel program, is in its 20th year, recognizes truck drivers who have selflessly helped others while on the job.
Sieczkarski was honored for his efforts to help a driver who was stranded in his truck as water raised by a flash flood was rising around the vehicle. Sieczkarski spotted the truck parked sideways by a bridge on Interstate 10 near Brookshire, Texas. He parked his own vehicle in a safe spot and then ran back to check the scene, spotting the driver still in the cab.
Sieczkarski and another motorist who had also stopped, tried to float a life vest toward the driver to grab onto. The two tried to talk the driver into leaving his tractor trailer and belongings behind for 15 minutes before Sieczkarski took matters into his own hands.
Donning the life vest, he swam out to the truck and opened the cab door. With the door opened, the stranded driver finally realized how quickly the water was rising and agreed to leave his truck. The two swam toward dry land through the rough waters, being dragged under several times but they were able to make it thanks to the help of several bystanders who had gathered to help pull them in.
“I’m told that an hour after Daniel rescued the other driver, the stranded tractor-trailer was fully submerged underwater,” said Russell Stubbs, TCA chairman. “Talk about ‘just in time delivery!’”
Lance Platt, CEO of EpicVue, sponsor of the award, presented Sieczkarski with a trophy and prize – a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a TV, DVR, and one-year subscription to DirecTV.
“Daniel put another man’s life before his own. If he had not acted so quickly, the outcome could have been very different,” said Platt. “My company considers it a privilege to be able to recognize and honor amazing professional truck drivers like him, which is why we love sponsoring this program.”