Trucker recognized after preventing accident when student driver passed out at wheel

Demetrice ReevesDemetrice Reeves

A truck driver for Stevens Transport has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for preventing an accident when his student driver passed out at the wheel.

Demetrice Reeves of Kissimmee, Florida, and his student driver were on I-74 in Illinois on Dec. 16, 2018, with the student in his fifth week of training. The day before, he hadn’t been feeling well and was complaining of fatigue. The next day, after stopping for the night for rest, the student again mentioned he wasn’t feeling well.

“After a break, when we were back on the road, he began slowing down as we approached a curve,” Reeves said. “As I looked over at him, his head suddenly flopped to the left, and he went into seizure-like convulsions with his hand locked onto the steering wheel.”

Reeves then grabbed the wheel and said the student’s foot relaxed off the gas when he passed out, so the truck began to slow.

“I was able to start pulling the brakes from the side just enough to continue slowing the truck down,” he said.

As the truck came to a stop, Reeves undid the student’s seatbelt and pulled the 260-pound man out of the driver’s seat to the space between the seats and climbed over him to take over the truck and pull it off the road. He then called 911, and the student was taken to the hospital.

“He was driving well, and I trusted him to drive,” Reeves added. “But I thought I should keep an eye on him since he hadn’t been feeling well.”

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