A company driver from New York state has once again been recognized for his highway heroism.
Daniel Sieczkarski of Rochester, who drives for Melton Truck Lines, Inc., has been named the 2016 Highway Angel of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association and its partner EpicVue. The award was handed out today at the TCA’s Annual Convention under way at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville.
The incident for which Sieczkarski was honored took place April 18, 2016 during record-breaking flooding in and around Houston. He was driving on I-10 near Brookshire, Texas, when he spotted a tractor trailer parked sideways near a bridge. Floodwater was rising around the truck, but the driver was still behind the wheel. Realizing that something was wrong, he quickly moved his truck to a safe place and ran back to check out the scene.
Another motorist had also stopped and happened to have a life vest and some tubing available. Sieczkarski and the motorist tied the tubing to the vest and floated it toward the driver to use. After 15 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to talk the driver into leaving his tractor trailer and all his belongings behind, Sieczkarski knew he had to take matters into his own hands. Donning the life vest himself, he swam out to the stranded driver’s truck.
As he opened the cab door, the other driver began to realize how quickly the water was rising and was finally convinced to leave his truck. With little time to spare, the pair swam through the turbulent water toward dry land. They were pulled under several times, but with the help of several bystanders who had gathered on dry land and helped to pull them in, both were able to reach safety.
EpicVue’s Platt said, “Daniel put another man’s life before his own. If he had not acted so quickly, the outcome could have been very different. 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.”
The Highway Angel program, now in its 20th year, recognizes professional truck drivers who have selflessly helped others while on the job. From each year’s awardees, one is selected as Highway Angel of the Year because he or she is thought to best embody the spirit of the program.
During the award ceremony, Lance Platt, CEO of the Salt Lake City, Utah-based EpicVue, presented Sieczarski with a trophy and an EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DIRECTV programming.
Then, Nashville recording artist Lindsay Lawler, the official spokesperson of the Highway Angel program, sang one of her songs, “Highway Angel.”
According to TCA. since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angels program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.