Driver named Highway Angel for rescuing man from choking

Updated Feb 8, 2019
Keith BurgoonKeith Burgoon

ABF Freight truck driver Keith Burgoon, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for rescuing a man from choking.

Burgoon was in Memphis, Tennessee, eating at a Longhorn Steakhouse after securing a hotel room for the night when a man he had been speaking with at the bar quickly stood up like something was wrong. Burgoon asked the man if he was OK, to which the man shook his head.

He then performed the Heimlich maneuver multiple times to no avail. At this point, the restaurant manager had called 911.

“I told the man to not use his stomach muscles, because I knew he had to try and relax for it to work,” Burgoon said.

Finally, on his third and final attempt, Burgoon was able to dislodge the piece of steak from the man’s throat, allowing him to breathe.

Burgoon typically hauls from Louisville, Kentucky, to St. Louis, but changing freight had brought him to Memphis. “I told them I work for ABF Freight, and that I wasn’t supposed to be here that evening. But they told me that God needed me there that day,” he said.

The trucker is a dive master and was required to know CPR, the Heimlich and other life-saving techniques.

For his willingness to help, Burgoon was presented with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. ABF Freight also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors the TCA Highway Angel program.

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