David Ragland has been named the latest Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel for his role in helping two young children survive a bad car crash.
Ragland, a driver for Kelle’s Transport Service out of Utah, was driving westbound on I-40 on Aug. 11, 2013, when he saw a car in the eastbound lane swerve off the road and veer into a tree line. He stopped immediately and crossed the Interstate.
He saw the car folded in half and upside down with smoke pouring out of the engine.
He also heard cries and screams coming from inside the car.
He couldn’t see past the adults in the front seat — who appeared to not have survived the accident — but the screaming obviously indicated someone had survived the crash.
The car was smoldering and visible flames began to appear. He went to his truck and got a fire extinguisher to try to battle the flames.
Another man who had stopped was using a pocket knife to cut through the car to get to the back seat. Ragland’s extinguisher ran out, but a state trooper had stopped, so Ragland began using his to douse the flames.
The man using the pocket knife yelled he had found someone alive, so Ragland ran to help. The other man pulled out a baby in a car seat and passed him to Ragland, who carried him to a safe distance from the car.
Eventually, fire and rescue personnel took over. A second child in the wreck also lived.
Tragically, however, both of the parents and an 8-year-old girl died in the crash.
Ragland kept quiet about what happened until a year later, when his company offered a $100 prize in a Good Samaritan contest.
His story was chosen, and Ragland decided to donate the money to the two surviving children, along with some money from his own pocket.
Other Kelle employees began to make donations until the amount had grown to $5,000.
A press conference with police was conducted to present the checks, and Ragland met one of the surviving children — the infant he helped rescue.
Ragland is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has been a truck driver for three years.
TCA has given him a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decal.