Gary de Vos of Trenton, Ontario, has been named the latest Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association after he helped a man whose car had been in a serious accident after his car hit a deer on the highway.
On April 23, 2014, de Vos — a driver for Bison Transport — was driving down a remote stretch of Highway 1 east of Winnipeg and at about 5 a.m. in the dark. When he came to a wide dirt shoulder, something on the side of the road caught his eye. He stopped and walked up to it, and he realized it was a man sitting on the dirt shoulder, covered by a blanket.
The man had hit a deer, causing his car to overturn and slide about 30 feet off the road into a swamp. The man had crawled out of the wreck and back to the road, but he was shivering badly and seemed to be in shock.
When de Vos stopped, the man had been on the side of the road for more than 45 minutes, and in that time 28 vehicles and gone by without stopping, the man said.
de Vos brought him to his truck and cranked the heat up, but he couldn’t get anyone on the CB and his cell phone was out of range. He was able to notify his dispatcher through a satellite connection, and eventually someone did stop and call 911. de Vos kept the accident victim warm until help arrived.
“As a night-time driver who has to pass through a highly deer-prone area, I’m always scanning the roadway left to right because deer are so hard to see” said de Vos, who spent 32 years in the Canadian military and has been a professional truck driver for about five years. “With the guy under a brown blanket, sitting on a dirt shoulder—in the dark—he blended right in. It would have been so easy to miss him if it weren’t for the movement he made.”
TCA has presented its latest Highway Angel with a certificate, patch, and lapel pin. Bison Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.