Saving a Helping Hand

When Vincent Bistransky stopped his truck to help a motorist fix a flat, he found a woman with her hand and fingers trapped in the wheel well of an SUV after the vehicle’s jack had slipped.

What he did not know was that the hand belonged to a sign language interpreter.

The dexterity of her hands is an invaluable asset not only to her, but also to the people who rely on her.

Bistranksy was driving through Ohio on Interstate 70 when he spotted the SUV on the shoulder of the road. A woman was bent down by the vehicle’s front tire, waving frantically at passing cars. Bistransky, of Windber, Penn., a driver for E.S. Adams Trucking, stepped on the brakes to check on the distraught woman, but as he neared the scene, he found more than he expected.

“I thought she just needed help changing her tire,” he said later. “I didn’t realize what was going on until I got closer and could hear her saying she was stuck.”

Bistransky got down on the road and checked up under the wheel housing. He found that the woman’s left hand was stuck under the fender, and her fingers were caught in the coil spring. The rescuer/truck-driver immediately went into action. He reached under the front of the SUV, got a strong grip, and lifted. Bistransky had sufficient power to take some pressure off the fender. It was enough. The woman was able to pull her fingers and hand out of their trap.

Once free, she told Bistransky that she had been trying to change a flat tire when the jack slipped and her hand and fingers were caught. Bistranksy said he later learned that the woman had been trapped for five minutes before he arrived. Although the victim’s fingers were bent and her fingertips crushed, Bistranksy said she didn’t scream or cry out. “She must have been in shock,” he said.

While Bistransky changed the flat, the rescued lady used her uninjured hand to call for help.

Once he discovered the woman’s occupation and the extent of the damage to her hand and finger, Bistransky said he realized how lucky it had been that he arrived before more serious damage was done.

For his actions, Bistransky received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch.
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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