James Csire of Ontario, Canada, was driving I-75 near Tifton, Ga., when he received a warning over his CB that someone “driving crazy” in a red Ford Mustang was headed his way.
He checked his rearview mirror and saw a woman in a van coming off the entrance and in behind his rig. The woman driving, and her three little girls, had no idea that their lives would soon be in the hands of this veteran driver.
Csire saw the Mustang with its flashers on speeding up the interstate. It came up behind a car that was attempting to pass Csire but was not accelerating enough to get out of the Mustang’s way. Impatient to get around the car, the driver of the Mustang decided to venture onto the grassy median. But the grass was wet. The car lost control and spun, then slid back onto the interstate, right under Csire’s trailer.
“He went spinning sideways, came underneath my trailers, hit the tire carrier, and busted my airlines,” Csire said. “He sheared them off with his car.”
In the process, Csire sheared the Mustang’s roof with his trailer.
“When he went underneath my trailer, he must have ducked down,” Csire said, because as the car came back out, “all you could see was the motor.”
The car continued spinning, traveled back across the median, and crossed the northbound lane where it hit another truck head-on, sending that tractor-trailer and another car off the road.
In the meantime, Csire’s wheels had locked up. He managed to veer his rig to the right shoulder and get off the road. The woman who had been in the van behind him also pulled off the road, and Csire jumped out of his truck and ran to check on her.
“She was 15 feet behind me, so she saw everything happen,” Csire said. “She was crying and really upset and she had her daughters with her, so I stayed with her to comfort her. I didn’t want to leave her because I was scared she might drive, and she was in no condition to drive with the young girls.”
The woman eventually phoned her parents, and Csire remained with her until her parents and the state police arrived.
Thankful for Csire’s expertise in handling the situation and his concern, the woman wrote a letter of commendation to MacKinnon Transport on his behalf. “If it had not been for his driving skills, many lives could have been lost, including those of my three daughters, 4, 8, and 10 years old. Our entire family sends a great big thank you to Jim for exercising his driving skills on the highway and for being such a comfort to me at a very traumatic time,” she wrote. “You should be very proud to have a driver of his caliber representing your company.”
Csire credits his not losing control of his vehicle to his more than 30 years of experience driving tractor-trailers. Csire received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for his efforts.
Petro Stopping Centers and Volvo Trucks 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.