A Canadian trucker is being recognized for coming to the aid of a family whose car caught fire while driving on an interstate.
The Truckload Carriers Association recently named truck driver Eric Melo, from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, a Highway Angel for stopping to help the occupants of a car that was on fire, and extinguishing the blaze. Melo drives for Mill Creek Automotive, out of Ayr, Ontario, Canada.
On the evening of Nov. 14, Melo was on his way to East Liberty, Ohio, when he saw a passenger vehicle traveling ahead of him with flames coming from underneath it. Melo followed the passenger vehicle when it pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate.
“Once I noticed he was starting to stop his vehicle, I actually followed him into the shoulder,” Melo said. “Once he stopped, after that it was more or less a blur.”
Melo quickly exited his truck, with his fire extinguisher in hand, and hurried ahead to attempt to douse the fire with the extinguisher. He then proceeded to check on the people still sitting in the vehicle – with his encouragement, they left their belongings behind and moved away from the-still-burning vehicle to the safety of Melo’s truck.
“I screamed, ‘get out of the car — now!’” Melo said.
By the time the couple was inside his truck, their vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. The entire incident – from when Melo pulled onto the shoulder until he had escorted the couple safely back to his truck – took about 3 1/2 minutes. He stayed with the couple until the state troopers arrived and then proceeded on his way to complete delivery to the Honda plant in East Liberty.
“No one stopped — it was just me,” he said. “I thought, I gotta do something; I might as well do something to help.”
Since the TCA Highway Angels program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job. Thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsor, DriverFacts and Northland Insurance, TCA is able to showcase outstanding drivers like Melo.