Child Behind the Wheel

Daryl and Peggy Bauguss of Roaring River, N.C., were traveling through Oklahoma on Highway 69 when the driver of a pickup in front of their truck lost control and hit a guardrail.

Inside the pickup, the Baugusses noticed an older man behind the steering wheel, and as it veered back across the highway, they saw that a child in the passenger seat had taken over the steering wheel.

The small girl managed to steer the pickup into a signpost and as soon as it came to a stop, Daryl and Peggy, along with another truck driver, hurried to the scene.

Once there, the 8-year-old, Samantha, immediately jumped out of the pickup and explained the situation.

“She told us, ‘My paw paw’s gone to sleep and I can’t wake him up.’ That’s when my wife took her into the truck, and I went to check on the grandfather,” says Daryl.

Daryl and the other trucker immediately began to administer CPR to the elderly man who had suffered a heart attack. While the men where with the driver, Peggy Bauguss attempted to calm the youngster.

After the police and ambulance left, Daryl and Peggy were still very concerned about the little girl being alone at the hospital, unaware that her grandfather had died. The couple turned their truck around and headed to the hospital to be with Samantha until her parents arrived.

Daryl and Peggy were thankful that they were able to be at the scene at the time of the accident.

“It’s amazing that we were there at the time it happened,” says Daryl. “I try to help anybody I can regardless of the situation. Even if my load’s late an hour, I’m going to stop.”

For their caring actions, Daryl and Peggy received Highway Angel lapel pins, certificates and patches. The Highway Angel program recognizes hundreds of truck drivers for their unusual kindness and courtesy to others while on the job.

Petro Stopping Centers and Volvo North America are exclusive sponsors of the Highway Angel Program, which was initiated in 1997. The goal of the program is to support driver professionalism and elevate public awareness of the many outstanding drivers in the trucking industry.

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