Actions taken at the site of a South Carolina wreck have led to a professional driver and longtime Aire Force veteran being honored.
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Augustine “Gus” Corona from Corpus Christi, Texas, a Highway Angel for rescuing a fellow truck driver in a crash and extinguishing three fires related to the accident. Corona drives for Melton Truck Lines based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On June 11, Corona was driving on Highway 26 in South Carolina when a truck traveling in front of him began bobbing back and forth. The road narrowed and had cement barriers. Suddenly, Corona watched as the truck turned over on its passenger side.
“The container (on the back of the truck) must have hit the median,” Corona said. Without a moment to spare, Gus safely pulled over and ran to the overturned truck, where he found a female driver inside. “I see a lady in there and I told her we have to get you out of here,” he said.
Within moments, he had helped to pull her from the truck and to safety. To his amazement, the woman suffered only minor injuries. Once Gus knew she was safe, he noticed there were three fires ablaze, as a result of sparks flying from the truck crash. Gus quickly grabbed his fire extinguisher and combatted the fires before they grew out of control.
A member of the U.S. Air Force for 24 years, Gus credited his quick thinking and efforts to his military and medical training. “My instincts kicked over,” he said, explaining he received extensive preparation in the Air Force for accidents and unexpected situations. After the accident scene was cleared by police and emergency personnel, Gus drove the crashed truck’s driver to meet up with her family.
Since the accident, the drivers have stayed in touch. To show her gratitude, the truck driver whose rig crashed plans to name her new dog “Gus” in honor of him.
TCA has presented him with a certificate, patches, lapel pin, and truck decals. The company has also received a letter acknowledging him as a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.