LUCIE, Fla. — Calvin and Corey Williams are two peas in a pod — literally. The two are identical twins who share and do everything together — even following their dream of becoming heroes. In their book, that meant becoming the best truck drivers possible.
Little did they know that they would achieve their goal of becoming heroes in every sense of the word.
In addition to serving as truck drivers and trainers for Armellini Express Lines, the pair have been recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Highway Angel program as trucking heroes. Trucking met heroism when the two witnessed a catastrophic crash and came to the rescue one cold, gloomy February morning.
On that fateful day, Calvin was looking for a rest area while driving on Interstate 44 near Bristow, Oklahoma, when he witnessed a vehicle going unusually fast. It was around 4 a.m., pitch dark and the roads were icy. All of a sudden, he saw the vehicle take a hard right.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, is there an exit ramp right there?’” Calvin recalled. “When I saw them swerve off and I saw the car lights do like a cartwheel, I was like, ‘Damn, they lost control and went off there!’ I didn’t think about it; I just stopped the truck immediately.”
As he began to stop the truck, he woke up Corey and their trainee, Allen Ford, and the team got to work. Before the truck had even stopped, the Williams twins called 911; then they both ran toward the spot where the car, which was now burning, had gone off the road.
While retelling their story, Calvin and Corey described how they tore their hands up as they jumped over a barbed-wire fence to get to the car. The morning was still dark, and Corey and Calvin had nothing but a phone light, feeling around with their feet toward the car.
There were two people in the car when it crash-landed in a cold, muddy ditch; somehow, they had managed to crawl out from beneath the inflated airbags and exit the vehicle.
“They hit a tree so hard it knocked the headlights out and pushed the motor and transmission into the cab,” said Calvin.
The car’s windows were broken, and the brothers found a male — the passenger — conscious, lying on the ground with a serious leg injury. The female driver was about 30 feet from the vehicle. One of the twins ran back to the truck to grab blankets.
“She was bleeding and shivering and couldn’t move her legs,” Calvin told the Truckload Carriers Association when they were awarded the Highway Angel designation. He suspected she had a broken back. “She kept saying she had fallen asleep at the wheel. She looked like she was going into shock.”
Calvin and Corey shared with TCA that the crash scene was near an old dirt road, and challenging to reach. It was an hour before the police reached the scene, and it was yet another hour before emergency medical services arrived.
“Once they got there and I saw a flashlight and heard sirens I’m like, ‘Thank God,’” Calvin said. “I felt relieved, like the end of a good movie. ‘OK, they’re going to be saved and things are going to be great.’ The two recall the police officer who arrived on the scene saying, “’Well, I can’t do nothing. You guys did everything, you already got the situation under control. All we needed was for the EMTs to come.’ We were like, ‘What?’”
Calvin and Corey had to help the officer over the fence because he had all his gear weighing him down. Even then, the first responders could not be the first responders at that moment. It took them a while to get to the crash scene because it was blocked by a barbed wire fence, hills, mud and wooded areas.
“They had no way to get down the hill and successfully bring two people back up, especially with their injuries,” said Corey.
“The (police) just looked at me like I was crazy,” Corey said of climbing the fence and helping. “And I when I thought about it, I was like, ‘Wow, that is kind of crazy. I could have gotten killed.’”
But, at that moment, neither brother was thinking about his actions.
“If you thought about (helping), you weren’t going to do it,” Corey said.
In total, the twins stayed at the crash scene for more than four hours. The sun was peeking out by the time everything was all said and done. Despite the drive time lost while the twins stayed by the couple’s side, they said they don’t regret staying and helping.
“If we called the police and drove off, they were never going to find the people,” Corey said. “By the time we got done, the fire went out on the car and the headlights went out and they were down in the trees. How were you going to find them unless you knew the exact spot they were at?”
For their efforts, the brothers earned a Highway Angels award from TCA. The Highway Angels program presents recipients with certificates, patches, lapel pins and truck decals in recognition of an act of heroism while on the road.
“We just looked at it as doing our job,” Corey said. “And I’ve learned a lot. You want it to be a learning experience. What I learned was that if you see a bad accident, you can’t pass it assuming that somebody’s going to go down there and find those people. You can’t just call 911 and just leave. You’ve got to jump into the accident as fast as you can because it doesn’t happen like you think it happens.”
Calvin added, “You can’t ever assume that the police are going to come in and everything’s going to be peachy.”
The brothers’ gut-feeling reaction to never hesitate before helping others was inspired by their grandfather, Keny Pringle, who drove a Coca-Cola truck. Pringle was the one who instilled in them a love of and admiration for truck drivers.
“I thought he was a hero. He used to pull up (in his truck) and all the ladies would run up behind him and say, ‘Oh my god, can I get a free Coca-Cola?’” Corey laughed as he reminisced. “I thought it was so heroic.”
Calvin remembers getting into Pringle’s truck every Christmas Day and thinking that one day, he would drive a truck, too.
“I love everything about it,” Calvin said of trucking. “It’s like going on a field trip for free. You don’t have to pay for nothing — just get up, and show up. You never know what you’re going to see. It’s like going on a great adventure every time you get up.”
Calvin and Corey’s road to adventure took them to becoming truck drivers, like their grandfather. The best part, they said, is that they get to do it together.
“We are always together. We live together and we do everything except take a bath together,” Calvin joked.
“We can’t do that,” Corey said with a laugh.
Although “everything” hilariously excludes bathing, it DOES include driving. Often, the two still surprise themselves when they realize they have identical characteristics, personalities and interests.
Their trucking adventure has gone on for 13 years, and it won’t stop anytime soon. However, the two spend the majority of their time training others how to drive.
“My favorite thing to do is to teach it,” Corey said. “We take three people out in the truck and we love to teach it, because we became the best at it. We didn’t become drivers just to drive, we became drivers to become the best drivers.”
This translates in their hobbies together. They strive to be the best drivers whether it’s on a bike or in drag races. Their love of driving doesn’t stop there; the Williams twins are car fanatics as well. Of course, they do all of that together.