Marten Transport driver James McDowell and Danny Carmichael, a driver for Trucks Inc., have been selected as Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association.
On Dec. 17, 2009, McDowell walked into a truck stop in Kenly, N.C., and saw people standing around a little girl who was choking and had already turned blue. A man – presumably her father – was hitting her on the back, but it wasn’t working.
McDowell was all too familiar with this type of situation. In 1998, his son had died from choking. He always remembered the coroner saying that in some cases hitting a person on the back is not enough to dislodge a foreign object.
McDowell grabbed the little girl’s chin, pulled her mouth open, reached in, and grabbed and removed a chicken bone that was lodged there. “It felt good to do for someone else what I wasn’t able to do for my son,” he said.
McDowell followed up by giving the girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but she had already started breathing again.
Carmichael was nominated for helping a motorcycle accident victim who was severely injured. The sister of the 24-year-old victim said that on Aug. 3, 2009, her brother was riding his motorcycle on I-95 in Daytona, Fla., when a bus apparently hit him and knocked him into the center lane of the three-lane highway.
Carmichael came upon the victim pinned underneath his motorcycle and had to swerve to avoid hitting him. He stopped, called 911, comforted the young man and used his flashlight to warn other drivers. Other motorists stopped to help, including several other truck drivers, who positioned their trucks around the two men.
The victim’s sister wrote, “If Danny [Carmichael] was not there at that moment, I don’t know what might have happened. Danny is a true angel. He risked his own life to save someone else’s. … It makes me feel good knowing that there are men like that driving our roads in the U.S.”
For their actions, both McDowell and Carmichael received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. Marten and Trucks each received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
Since its inception in 1997, the Highway Angels program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy and courage they have shown others while on the job.