ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Two truck drivers who were killed while helping at the scene of an accident on Interstate 81 in West Virginia have posthumously earned their Highway Angel wings from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).
Adam “Troy” Miller, 53, of Hagerstown, Maryland, and Ashish Patel, 46, of Ontario, Canada, were honored late last month by TCA. Miller was a driver for Portner Trucking in Thurmont, Maryland, and Patel drove for Bison Transport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
According to police reports, at about 7:20 a.m. Thursday, July 1, two crashes occurred near an entrance ramp on I-81 following a heavy rain.
The first crash happened when two passenger cars lost control, hydroplaned and crossed the median, striking a parked tractor-trailer and becoming wedged underneath the trailer. Several motorists, including Patel and Miller, stopped to help.
While they were assisting the victims of the first crash, the driver of an SUV lost control near the scene, striking the rear of a parked tractor-trailer and hitting Patel and Miller. Both men died at the scene.
Miller’s widow, Julie, shared with TCA that her husband had a 28-year career as a professional truck driver and was on his way to work that morning. She wasn’t surprised that he had stopped to help.
“He was an excellent driver,” she said. “He could put a big rig in the smallest space I’ve ever seen in my life. He took his job very seriously. And he always pulled over to help someone.”
Miller loved fishing, working on muscle cars, and playing 8-ball and 9-ball pool, Julie shared.
“He was a diehard, fall-over Pittsburgh Steelers fan — the only one in the family,” she said. “He was easy to smile, easy to laugh. He would do anything for anybody.”
Miller leaves behind children Kristina N. Judkins (Miller), Joshua A. Miller, Brandon C. Miller, step-son, Joshua A. Mills; and grandson, Maveric M. Miller. He loved fishing, working on muscle cars, and playing 8-ball and 9-ball pool.
Patel’s widow, Shilpa, said her husband enjoyed being a professional truck driver and that he always accepted challenges that came his way — for instance, he spoke no English when he moved to Canada from India in 2010.
He had driven for Bison Transport for four years, and in 2019, he received a Safe Driver Award for 250,000 miles of safe driving.
“He helped others get their licenses and learn about the job,” she said. “He always encouraged people. He always shared the good points about the driving life. If someone was looking for a job, they would ask Ashish. He said, ‘If you are young, drive a truck. It will help you have a long road for your life.’”
Patel leaves behind his 7-year-old daughter, Vishwa.
TCA has presented both families a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Both employers have also received a letter acknowledging Miller and Patel as Highway Angels.
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.
Special thanks to the program’s Presenting Sponsor, EpicVue, and Supporting Sponsor, DriverFacts.
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.