Driver helps trooper subdue wanted criminal at rest area
Oklahoma-based driver Harry Welker has been named the latest TCA Highway Angel for his efforts in helping subdue a belligerent man who was in a fight with a Kansas state trooper.
Welker, a driver for Melton Truck Lines, was stopped at a rest area on I-70 in Kannapolis, Kan., where he saw the Kansas trooper pulling over a van. He was with a driver trainee.
Welker went into the rest area, and while he was in there, the trooper had asked the man — who was being evasive — to place his hands on the hood of the trooper’s SUV. When he tried to handcuff the man, he became hostile and attacked the trooper, putting him in a chokehold and punching him several times. He also was trying to grab the trooper’s gun.
When Welker returned to his truck, he saw the trooper and the man in a violent fight in the parking lot.
Welker and the trainee, both Marine veterans, went to help, tackling the man and subduing him. The trooper used a stun gun and was finally able to handcuff him. The man was wanted for parole violations in another state.
“It was my natural reaction to go over there and help. I didn’t give it a second thought,” said Welker, who spent eight years as a corrections officer for the state of Missouri and also used to escort prisoners for the Marines. “I’m not out to get recognition. I’m a concerned citizen who took action when action needed to be taken.”
TCA has presented Welker with a Highway Angel certificate, patch and lapel pin. The Kansas Highway Patrol also gave Welker a plaque. “Mr. Welker, you exhibited a great deal of bravery when you, unselfishly and without regard to your own safety, responded to help [our trooper],” states the letter of thanks. “You put yourself in harm’s way for a state trooper who you did not know. Your actions undoubtedly saved [the trooper] from further injury and possibly death.”