Professional truck drivers Addis Tekelu and Jesse Davis 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 as 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.
Addis Tekelu, who lives in New Braunfels, Texas, and drives for CKJ Transport based in McKinney, Texas, is being honored for stopping to rescue a woman after she suffered a medical emergency and veered off the road and into a wooded area.
Tekelu was traveling southbound on U.S. 59 on the afternoon of May 18, several miles south of Diboll, Texas, when he saw a pickup truck ahead of him move to the right shoulder. A moment later, the vehicle drove off the roadway, instantly disappearing into a thicket of trees. Appalled, Tekelu stopped and ran back to where the driver had gone off the road.
“I called 911 right away and asked the dispatcher to guide me on what to do,” he shared with TCA.
The vehicle was not visible from the road. Tekelu followed the vehicle’s tire tracks and made his way into the wooded area, where he found the pickup, covered in brush and branches.
“I saw a woman trapped in the vehicle, with lacerations to her head,” he recalled. He quickly began removing debris to get to the driver. “The windshield was shattered, and the driver’s side was smashed in.”
Tekelu couldn’t open the driver’s door, but he continued working and cleared enough debris away from the rear door to open it. He climbed inside to check on the driver.
“I asked if she could move, but she was in shock,” he said. “I kept talking to her, and she asked me to call her husband. Then I asked her if I could pray for her and she said yes and we prayed together.”
Tekelu stayed with the driver until first responders arrived. He was amazed that the driver was able to walk on her own.
“I’m glad she was safe, and I was happy I could help,” he said.
The police report stated that the driver, who was in her 60s, had experienced a medical emergency that made her feel faint.
“It’s hard to believe that poor woman was able to get out of there safely,” added Tekelu.
He has been driving for 10 years.
“I am originally from Ethiopia,” he shared with TCA. “I’ve seen a lot in my life. In 1984-85 we were in a big civil war. Lots of people were starving. I’m one of those kids who survived. I learned to be kind and to love. Love doesn’t have any color, no boundaries,” he said. “This is a great nation to give me an opportunity to enjoy the American dream. I know God will protect me and wants me to serve Him. One of the things is to love people and to be kind. We need to do the right thing out there, especially truckers. We are the backbone of this country.”
Jesse Davis, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, is being honored for stopping to help an elderly driver after he crashed into a guardrail on the highway.
It was early afternoon. Davis, who drives for Melton Truck Lines of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was finishing up his day as he merged onto U.S. 169 from Interstate 244 near Tulsa. When he checked his mirrors, he saw a car crash into the guardrail just behind him.
“He came around the curve a little too fast,” Davis shared with TCA. “He lost control and slammed into the guardrail head-on.”
Without hesitation, Davis pulled to the shoulder and ran back. The driver appeared to be in his 80s.
“He was dazed, but okay,” said Davis. “He told me he knew he was going a little too fast for the curve and misjudged the ramp a bit.”
Since the vehicle was blocking traffic from merging onto the highway, Davis directed the driver to move the vehicle off to the side as Davis held traffic back. Another vehicle stopped to offer help and told Davis they would call 911 while he tended to the driver.
“My focus was on him and getting him out of harm’s way,” recalled Davis. He then waited with the driver until the Highway Patrol arrived. The driver told Davis he lived just north of Tulsa. Davis said the skills he learned as a volunteer fireman, particularly emergency rescue techniques, have helped him a number of times.
“It comes in handy out here,” he shared. “There are some places where the response time can be pretty long. I’ve seen rollovers and fatality accidents, and helped with a lot of them.”
Davis has spent 42 years behind the wheel of a truck and says he’s enjoyed every minute of it.
“My uncle took me on my first ride when I was 12,” he said with a smile. “It was my dream (to drive), and I’m living it.”
To view dashcam footage from the accident, visit truckload.org/YouTube. To nominate a driver or to meet additional Highway Angels recipients, visit highwayangel.org.
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.