An Arizona trucker was recently honored for helping secure the scene of a multi-vehicle accident in Memphis.
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Robert Thompson, from Tombstone, Arizona, a Highway Angel for stopping at the scene of a collision and securing the area until first responders arrived.
One evening in early April, Thompson was traveling through Memphis on U.S. 78 with a load bound for Georgia. He was sitting in the right lane at a red light waiting for the light to change when a car came up on his left and drove into the intersection. “He didn’t even hit the brakes before he hit two other vehicles, pushing one into a third vehicle,” said Thompson. “He caused a four-vehicle accident across three lanes of traffic.”
Once it was safe to do so, Thompson maneuvered his tractor-trailer across three lanes of traffic to block oncoming vehicles. He turned on his strobe lights and then jumped out and went to check on the other drivers. Luckily, no one was injured. “The driver that caused the accident was dazed and confused,” said Thompson. “Apparently, he had reached down to get something and wasn’t paying attention to traffic in front of him.” Thompson then ran back to his truck and pulled out traffic cones to help divert traffic around the scene as he called 911. Traffic was still fairly heavy at that time of the evening and began backing up quickly. A Memphis police officer was just a couple blocks away and arrived on the scene in a matter of minutes.
“I’ve been (driving) over the road for 13 years and have come across many accidents,” he said. “This (one) is a lesson in not driving distracted because you never know what you could quite literally run into.” One of the officers that night repeatedly thanked Thompson for securing the accident scene and helping prevent a much worse situation.
For his willingness to assist, TCA has presented him with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. His employer has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.