Highway Angels | May/June 2023

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Highway Angels | May/June 2023

Professional truck drivers Ron Allen, Anthony Blunnie, Jason Escobar, Ty Hinton, Dawna Jacobsen, and Ebern Wiley have been named Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) for their acts of heroism while on the road.

In recognition of these drivers’ willingness to help fellow drivers and motorists, TCA has presented each Highway Angel with a certificate, a lapel pin, patches, and truck decals. Their employers have also received a certificate highlighting their driver as a recipient.

Since the inception of the program in 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels because of the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job. TCA extends special thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsor, DriverFacts. To nominate a driver or read more about these and other Highway Angel award recipients, visit 


Maverick Transportation, North Little Rock, Arkansas

Ron Allen
Ron Allen

On December 10, 2022, at about 5:30 a.m., Ron Allen of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, was driving on an interstate through Morristown, Tennessee. The morning was still dark and Allen, who drives for Maverick Transportation of North Little Rock, Arkansas, was traveling in the left-hand lane.

Suddenly, he spotted a U-Haul truck that appeared to be traveling the wrong way on the road — and heading straight for him.

“The lights were coming toward me,” he recalled, adding that as he got closer, he confirmed that the vehicle was indeed a U-Haul truck.

“It went across the road into the median and got stuck there,” Allen said. “It happened right in front of me.”

Allen pulled onto the shoulder, allowing the truck next to him to also avoid hitting the U-Haul. As he pulled over, he spotted an injured man on the ground — almost in the traffic lane — who was holding his leg. Allen quickly went to the man, who said he thought he had put the mid-size U-Haul in park after stopping on the side of the road, but that it was actually in reverse. The driver had stepped out of the vehicle, leaving the door ajar, and rolled his ankle on the rumble strip; at that point the door pushed him to the ground and the U-Haul rolled over his leg.

While another motorist called 911 for assistance, Allen got into the U-Haul, which was now wrecked in a wooded area, and put the vehicle in park. He grabbed the injured man’s cellphone and jacket from the crashed vehicle, brought them back to the roadside, gave the other driver the phone, and helped him put on the jacket.

The injured man had a compound leg fracture, and the bone had punctured skin. Allen remained at the scene until emergency personnel arrived.

“The reason I stopped was something clicked inside of me that I needed to help this person,” he said.


Knight Transportation, Phoenix 

Anthony Blunnie
Anthony Blunnie

Anthony Blunnie, a driver and trainer for Phoenix-based Knight Transportation, rescued a woman following a fiery crash.

At about 1 p.m. on February 15, 2023, Blunnie was training a driver on Interstate 20 in Jackson, Mississippi, when he saw a tire blow on a van. The vehicle veered off the road, flipped, and caught fire. Blunnie immediately instructed the driver trainee to safely pull over.

Blunnie grabbed his fire extinguisher, jumped out of the truck, and rushed to rescue the driver. By the time he reached the vehicle’s driver’s-side door, the flames were inside the vehicle and frighteningly close to the injured driver, a woman.

“I went around to her side and tried to pull her out,” Blunnie said, noting that, with the help of another man, he finally had to break all the van’s windows to pull her out of the vehicle.

“If he hadn’t come, I don’t know what I would’ve done — I couldn’t have gotten her out by myself,” Blunnie said.

The woman, a pizza delivery driver who was on her way to work, sustained multiple injuries in the crash.

“Her face was all bloody and she broke her nose — the airbag got her,” Blunnie shared. He said he didn’t hesitate to jump into the dangerous situation to rescue the woman.

“She would’ve been dead (if we hadn’t rescued her),” he said. “Ten seconds after we got her out of the van, it was gone.”


Maverick Transportation, North Little Rock, Arkansas 

Jason Escobar
Jason Escobar

On March 3, 2023, around 10 a.m., Jason Escobar, who lives in Palestine, Texas, and drives for Maverick Transportation out of North Little Rock, Arkansas, was traveling along Highway 3132 in Shreveport, Louisiana, when a sand truck overturned in front of him.

“He was top-heavy; he ended up losing control of the truck, and he flipped it over,” said Escobar, who has been a truck driver for almost seven years.

Escobar quickly stopped and ran to the other driver’s aid, climbing onto the vehicle — which was leaking gas and oil — to help the other driver out.

The truck’s load of sand spilled across the road, blocking all lanes of travel. Escobar remained at the scene, helping fire and rescue personnel shovel sand and helping another trucker who hit a guardrail and got stuck.

Escobar’s efforts resulted in unclogging the traffic jam that developed as a result of the accident.

“My mindset has always been that if, God forbid, something ever happens to me, I would hope that the person behind me would be kind enough to reach out and lend a hand,” he said. “We’re all just human beings.”


Melton Truck Lines, Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Ty Hinton
Ty Hinton

When Ty Hinton of Georgetown, Louisiana, saw a man collapse in a truck stop parking lot, he was quick to recognize a life-threatening situation.

On February 15, 2023, Hinton, who drives for Melton Truck Lines of Tulsa, Oklahoma, stopped at a Flying J Travel Center in Oklahoma City at about 11:30 p.m.

“I heard something hit the side of my truck, and I saw the guy stumbling by the side of the trailer, kinda hanging on to it,” he said. Having learned the telltale signs of a stroke at an early age, Hinton immediately realized something was wrong.

“It was pretty obvious right away,” he said. “Just looking at the guy — (he was) slurring his speech, the left side of his face was not working. I called the EMT and got them to come to the truck stop.”

Hinton also called the man’s wife to let her know what was happening; then waited with the stroke victim along with his wife, when she arrived, until emergency medical personnel arrived to take him to the hospital.

“I just wanted to make sure he was as comfortable as possible,” Hinton said. “I know strokes can be bad enough to be fatal, and I wanted to give him the opportunity to hear his wife’s voice. If I was going through that, I know that is the one person I would want to hear — my wife.”


Melton Truck Lines, Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Ebern Wiley
Ebern Wiley

At about 11:30 a.m. on February 2, 2022, Ebern Wiley, a driver from Hinesville, Georgia, was traveling east on a Wyoming roadway when he saw a horrific crash: An SUV, which was hauling a U-Haul trailer, hit black ice and flipped end over end.

Ebern, who drives for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Melton Truck Lines, immediately pulled over to help.

“The next thing I know, instinct kicked in,” he said. “I’m thinking, this guy is probably gonna be injured. I keep a crowbar below my feet; I grabbed it and threw on a heavy reflective jacket, and ran across the freeway through the snow.”

The driver of the SUV was trying to break out the windshield, Wiley said, adding that he told the man to stay back while he used the crowbar to smash the glass. Wiley then helped the driver exit the vehicle through the broken windshield, led him to his truck for shelter from the freezing weather, and called 911 for assistance.

“He was all shook up,” Wiley said, noting that the other driver appeared to have a mild concussion and bloody scrapes.

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, and a longtime trucker, Wiley says he is committed to lending a hand where it is needed.

“Being military, it’s kind of in our nature to do things like this,” he said. “With him rolling over like he did, it could’ve been serious.”


Erb Transport, LTD, New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada 

Dawna Jacobsen
Dawna Jacobsen

Dawna Jacobsen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who drives for Erb Transport, LTD, out of New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, helped rescue a 12-year-old boy who attempted to drive a snowmobile across the highway and was hit by a car.

It was about 6 p.m. on December 15, 2022, and Jacobsen was traveling along Highway 11 in Northern Ontario, just west of Kapuskasing.

“I saw something coming toward me; I saw lights that were not from the cars, and I just knew something wasn’t right,” she said. “I slowed down, put my flashers on and pulled over to not get hit by what I thought was a large box — it turned out to be a Ski-doo (snowmobile) — coming at me.”

Jacobsen, who was the first person at the scene, then realized there was an injured person in the road, a boy, whose legs were mangled. She immediately called 911. She safely slowed and stopped, using her truck to help shield the boy, before running to help. This helped protect the boy from further injury and signaled to oncoming traffic that something was wrong, an action that prevented another truck from striking the boy. She also later shared her dashcam footage with officers.

Two men stopped their vehicles to help, tending to the boy while Jacobsen communicated with emergency personnel, answering questions and relaying information until an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later.

Jacobsen found that the boy had been traveling on snowmobiles with several of his friends. The others crossed the highway safely, but he was struck by a car and seriously injured.

Tom Boehler, Erb Transport’s senior director of safety and compliance, studied the footage the following day. Had Jacobsen not taken the maneuver she did, the oncoming truck would have driven over the boy on the busy road.

“We are grateful and honored to have a professional and alert driver like Dawna on our team,” said Sheldon Wheeler, a spokesperson for Erb Transport. “Her ability to recognize potential danger and to react appropriately helped save a young boy’s life.”

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 edition of Truckload Authority, the official publication of the Truckload Carriers Association.


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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.

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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.
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