On April 30, 2017, Carl Cormier, started his typical workday. He had departed Mississippi in the early-morning darkness and began to approach Mobile, Alabama. As he was traveling along I-10, he could make out the faint shape of a person in the shadows running across the road ahead of him. He assumed they were determined to make it across to the other side, but when the shadow got to the barrier in the median, it stopped and turned toward him.
Cormier attempted to avoid the moving figure by veering to the right to open the left lanes, but the figure, not fully in Carl’s headlights yet, continued to follow his movements, running back and forth in his lane. Cormier quickly braked to a complete stop and was finally able to see the figure clearly — a woman who appeared to be in distress.
She was screaming belligerently at Cormier. He couldn’t understand anything she was yelling, but she appeared furious that he had thwarted her suicide attempt. Cormier knew it was unsafe to stay stopped on the freeway in the dark, and a truck coming up behind almost hit him. He tried to drive around the woman, but she wouldn’t let him pass.
At this moment, Cormier noticed a man on the side of the road. He stepped out of the shadows and grabbed the woman by the arm. About 20 yards further ahead, Cormier he saw the woman walking on the shoulder towards a van on the shoulder further up the road.
“My only thought was that they must have been together and she had a breaking point. It scared me to death because I’ve never had anything like that happen to me,” Cormier recalls.
He says one of his main rules has always been to keep his eyes securely focused on the road, even when driving in his car. He says this is probably why he could spot the situation as early as he did and avoid a tragedy.
“Even though I was able to avoid hitting the woman, it was still very scary because what if I killed that woman? That was the part that upset me,” Cormier said. “It was by the grace of God that truck didn’t run into the back of me, and that I was able to stop safely and avoid killing that woman. Pay attention, always keep your eyes moving looking for something even if it’s not there. Seems like people pop up at the last minute especially on your right side and get frustrated with us, the truck drivers. But we are just doing our jobs and trying to stay safe.”