On April 28, John Manering, a driver for Minstar Transport, saw a pickup truck improperly pull in front of a dump truck at the interchange of I-35 and U.S. Highway 65, southeast of Albert Lea, Minn.
The dump truck hit the pickup, lost its load of sand and ended up on its side, crushing the rear of the pickup. The dump truck’s airbag deployed, and its driver was trapped by the steering wheel and the broken shifting column. He could not move and was hanging from his seatbelt.
Manering pulled over, called 911, and went to assist the dump truck driver, while someone else went to the aid of the driver of the pickup. The dump truck driver said his legs and body hurt. To ease the man’s pain, Manering climbed into the cab backwards and allowed the man’s chest to rest on his shoulders, transferring the bulk of his weight onto Manering’s back. Manering stayed that way for nearly 30 minutes while emergency personnel arrived.
“My company asked me how I did it, how I could hold that weight for so long,” said Manering, a 10-year truck driver with a million safe miles under his belt. “My instincts just kicked in. I did it on adrenaline.”
Manering learned later the dump truck driver had suffered a broken collarbone and two broken ribs. For his assistance, Manering was recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association as a Highway Angel.