Trucker rescues girl from flooded car, continues to make his deliveries

Updated May 28, 2024
Truck driver Tom Melillo received award
From left to right: CPC Logistics operations manager Bill Baines, Tom Melillo and Walgreens logistics manager Ryan Michael. (CPC Logistics)
CPC Logistics

A New jersey truck driver was recently honored by his company for rescuing a teenage girl trapped in her car by heavy flood waters.

Tom Melillo, a CPC Logistics truck driver assigned to Walgreens in Hazlet, New Jersey, was traveling south on U.S. Route 9 to make a delivery on March 23, when he encountered a flooded section of roadway. Although numerous passenger vehicles were turning around to avoid the water, Melillo watched several tractor-trailers move through it with ease and decided it was safe for him to proceed.

While carefully maneuvering along the flooded road, Melillo said he saw a car floating in the water. There was a girl inside who appeared to be in distress. He drove to high ground, exited his truck, walked to the side of the road, and offered to assist her. The girl climbed out of the car window to try to get to Melillo but fell into the water.

Melillo  ran in to help her to her feet. He began to walk her along the embankment and under the highway overpass, where she slipped into water that was up to her neck. Melillo  jumped in once more and was able to get her to safety. She was wet and cold, so Tom gave her his jacket to keep warm and waited with her until emergency services professionals arrived.

Tom proceeded to make his deliveries like he would on any other day. Later, he got a call from CPC Operations Manager Bill Baines, who was aware of the incident.

“We found out what happened from someone who witnessed Tom’s heroic actions and reported them to Walgreens,” Baines said. “When I asked Tom if anything out of the ordinary occurred on March 23, he said, ‘No.’ It was only when I asked him directly about the incident that he told me all about it. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this was something Tom felt like he had to do. He was not looking for any praise or recognition. He did it because that’s just who he is.’”

Tom was presented with CPC Logistics’ prestigious President’s Award on May 14 at Strickland’s Steak House in Woodbridge, New Jersey. The award is given to CPC employees who do something outstanding outside their normal job duties.

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Baines, President John Bickel Jr., CEO Duane Trower, Chief Operating Officer Dan Most, and Safety Managers Joe Cosenza and Gary Knappenberger from CPC as well as Walgreens Logistics Manager Ryan Michael were present to honor Melillo.