TCA names ABF driver a Highway Angel for efforts at truck fire scene

Updated Feb 12, 2024
David Garduno

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named truck driver David Garduno, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, a TCA Highway Angel for stopping to help another trucker when one of his tires was on fire. Garduno drives for ABF Freight out of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

TCA explains:

David GardunoDavid GardunoOn Jan. 9, around 1:55 a.m., Garduno was driving on U.S. Highway 64 in Kirtland, New Mexico, when he came upon another tractor/trailer whose rear trailer’s passenger side rear tire was on fire.  

“I sped up and informed the driver his truck was starting to catch fire — the trailer was catching fire — and to pull over,” he said. “We both pulled over.” 

Garduno began to use his fire extinguisher to try to put out the fire, but was unsuccessful. The fire was on molten metal. He advised the new trucker, whose trainer was asleep in the cab, to break apart the two trailers because he might lose the entire truck to the fire. 

“We split the two trailers apart,” he said.

Garduno noticed there was hazardous material in the truck’s load, as the other trucker called 911 for help. He then got his traffic safety triangles out and placed them on the road behind the flaming truck to attempt to keep traffic at a safe distance. He also moved his truck away from it, as the fire department arrived. 

“The fire department came, and it took about two hours to put out, even though it was 10 degrees or less outside,” he said.  

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Garduno credited staying calm with his military training. He felt obliged to stop and help the other trucker during the incident. 

“If I was in his position, I would want someone to help me,” he said. “You always gotta help each other out.” 

Since the TCA Highway Angels program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,400 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 sponsors, DriverFacts and Northland Insurance, TCA is able to showcase outstanding drivers like Garduno.