Professional truck drivers Alfonso Archuleta, Paul Ryan Bales, Roy Davison, and Larry Hull have been named Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) for their acts of heroism while on the road.
For their willingness to assist fellow drivers and motorists, TCA has presented each Highway Angel with a certificate, a patch, a lapel pin, and truck decals. Their employers have also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. Special thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsor, DriverFacts.
To nominate a driver or meet additional Highway Angels recipients, visit www.highwayangel.org.
Alfonso Archuleta, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and drives for ABF Freight System of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was honored for stopping to aid a FedEx driver whose double trailer overturned into a ditch.
Early one morning in August 2021, Archuleta was traveling on U.S. Highway 54 near Stratford, Texas. The sun was coming up, making things a bit hazy because it had just rained. Suddenly, he saw a truck ahead, lying on its side in the ditch. It was a FedEx truck pulling a set of doubles that had passed him a bit earlier. Archuleta immediately pulled over and grabbed a pair of rubber gloves.
“You never know what you’re going to find,” he shared with TCA. He ran to check on the driver. “I asked him if he had any broken bones and he said ‘no.’”
At about the same time, an off-duty volunteer firefighter pulled up and helped Archuleta get the driver out of the truck.
“The driver was really upset,” recalled Archuleta. “He said he had just gotten over COVID and this was his first day back. He didn’t know what had happened, and (he) must have blacked out.”
Archuleta then walked to the back of the trailer to see if
the driver was hauling any hazardous materials.
“He had corrosive on board,” he said. “We got the paperwork out to give to the fire department when they arrived and saw that he was hauling batteries.”
Thankfully, the driver seemed to be okay. “He was just really upset that he turned the truck over,” shared Archuleta. He tried to calm the driver. “I told him that as long as he was okay, not to worry about the truck.”
At that point, the volunteer firefighter said he would stay with the driver until first responders arrived so that Archuleta could get back on his route.
Archuleta said his father also drove a truck for a living.
“As a little kid, I would do walkarounds with him to check the tires and inspect the vehicle,” he recalled. “My dad was always a safe driver. I always stress to young drivers how it important it is to make sure you’re as safe as you can be. It’s important to share your knowledge. You learn it and you pass it along. Taking a little bit of time could save a life.”
PAUL RYAN BALES
Paul Ryan Bales, who lives in Nixa, Missouri, and drives for Ryder, located in Miami, was honored for rushing to the aid of a man who was trapped in an overturned vehicle that soon caught fire.
The morning of August 20, 2021, Bales was eastbound on Interstate 44 near Rolla, Missouri, on his way to St. Louis — something he does every Friday — when he noticed cars ahead of him were hitting their brakes and swerving.
“I figured it was something in the road,” he recalled. “But as I approached the overpass, I saw a pickup truck on the shoulder in a ball. It was a mangled mess, upside down. I thought it must have just happened.”
He quickly pulled off on the shoulder and ran back.
“Two other guys, construction workers in a pickup stopped. We didn’t know how many people were in the pickup or ejected,” he shared with TCA, adding that they found a man under the truck. “He wasn’t moving.”
Then they noticed flames coming from beneath the front of the truck.
“We dragged him as far (away) as we could without injuring him,” shared Bales. “He was in bad shape.”
Bales then ran back to his truck to grab a fire extinguisher from his truck, but it was no match against the flames.
“I tried to flag down other trucks (by) waving my fire extinguisher in the air,” he said.
Another driver stopped, but by this time the pickup was engulfed in flames. It wasn’t long before paramedics and firefighters arrived on scene.
“They air-evacuated him to St. Louis,” said Bales. “You know when they bring the helicopter in, it’s not good.”
Bales has been driving for 30 years, 22 of them with Ryder, and he has been the first one on the scene of many accidents.
“I’m glad I noticed him, saw his truck. That time of the morning, everyone is on a mission to get to work, and it was a Friday that day,” he said. He’s also grateful for the other drivers who stopped to help that day and helped save the driver’s life.
Bales said the driver, an older man, wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and had been ejected from his vehicle.
“I could see where he had hit the guardrail,” he said. “The truck went end-over-end underneath the bridge. It was dark underneath the overpass, and other drivers were concentrating on avoiding pieces of metal strewn from the truck. The top (of the truck) was ripped off like a sardine can.”
Despite the seriousness of the accident and the injuries the driver sustained, Bales later heard he was expected to make a full recovery.
Roy Davison, who lives in Crown Point, Indiana, and drives for ABF Freight System of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was honored for stopping to help a couple after they lost control of the U-Haul truck and trailer they were driving and flipped.
Late in the evening of October 9, 2021, Davison was eastbound on Interstate 94 near Altoona, Wisconsin, on his way to Chicago. He had just crested a hill when he saw a U-Haul truck ahead, which was pulling a trailer loaded with a minivan, lose control and flip. The trailer separated from the truck and rolled over in the ditch, crushing the roof of the minivan. Without a moment to spare, Davison slowed and maneuvered his truck and trailer to block the two-lane road. He then jumped out and ran to the overturned U-Haul which was laying on its passenger side.
“I saw two faces looking through the windshield at me,” Davison shared with TCA. “I knew it wouldn’t be safe to break the windshield to get them out, so I climbed up onto the undercarriage of the U-Haul.”
Another driver who had stopped held the driver’s door open. Davison carefully made his way inside the truck. The driver and passenger, a couple in their 60s, were still strapped into their seats.
“I helped the driver step on the armrest and then boosted her up, and the other driver pulled her up,” said Davison.
He then worked on helping the passenger, who was buried underneath some of the couple’s possessions, which had come loose when the U-Haul flipped over.
“We finally got him out,” he said. “They were both able to walk on their own.”
Once they were safely out of the vehicle, Davison asked the driver what had happened.
“She said, ‘It just got all squirrelly, and thank you, Jesus!’” he said. “They were lucky to be able to walk away from it. They took quite a ride coming over that hill. I almost didn’t see them when I came over the hill as there was some fog.”
Davison recalled that all of the couple’s belongings were in the U-Haul truck and in the minivan.
“There was broken glass everywhere, and their stuff was scattered all around,” he said. “I felt really bad for them. I found their cellphones and keys, and they had their family Bible with them, which they took in the ambulance with them.”
Davison has been driving for nearly 23 years, 15 of those with ABF.
Larry Hull, who lives in Harrah, Oklahoma, and drives for Taylor Truck Lines of Northfield, Minnesota, was honored for stopping to assist a young woman who was trapped in her vehicle following a deadly collision.
On the morning of October 5, 2021, Hull was heading out of Byhalia, Mississippi, on Mississippi Highway 7 when he encountered a two-vehicle accident on the two-lane roadway.
“Two cars had just collided moments earlier,” he shared with TCA. Hull, a former firefighter, safely pulled over and jumped out to assist.
“I got out and ran to check on the occupants of the first car,” he said. “Two other motorists stopped at the same time as I did. They were both nurses.”
They discovered two women in the first car who were gravely injured.
“We did what we could, but unfortunately, they died at the scene” he shared. Hull then rushed over to the other vehicle and found a young woman, whom he later learned was 24 years old.
“I worked on keeping her calm,” recalled Hull. “She had a broken ankle, but I couldn’t determine what other injuries she may have.” When first responders arrived, Hull helped extricate the young woman from her vehicle.
Hull said the young woman’s uncle and father have been in touch with him and thanked him for helping the young woman. They believe she would have lost her life that day if it weren’t for Hull.
“She had significant injuries and has a long recovery ahead of her,” he shared with TCA. “But she is back home with family, including her daughter.”
Hull doesn’t know how the accident happened that day.
“It was around 8 a.m. and traffic was light,” he remembered. He added that several other motorists stopped to help. “They either had training, like those two nurses, or they offered to help in any way they could,” he said.
Hull has been a professional truck driver for 17 years and has served as a volunteer firefighter for 20 years.
The Truckload Authority News Staff, comprised of award winning journalists and graphic artists, produces content for Truckload Authority, working in cooperation with the Truckload Carriers Association staff. Truckload Authority aims to keep TCA members abreast on the latest trends in the trucking industry as well as articles that feature TCA member executives and drivers. The Truckload Authority staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.