A husband-wife team for Hirschbach Motor Lines has been named Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association for their efforts in pulling a trapped motorist from a burning vehicle.
Ed and Tracy Zimmerman, of Kenesaw, Nebraska, were heading to Hodgkins, Illinois, with Tracy driving and Ed asleep in the bunk along I-77 in West Virginia, when she came around a curve and saw a UPS truck and another vehicle stopped just ahead of her. Looking further ahead, she saw a car rolled over in a ditch on fire.
Tracy stopped the truck and positioned it to block traffic as another motorist ran up yelling for a fire extinguisher. He told Tracy the driver was trapped in his vehicle. She then grabbed the truck’s fire extinguisher and yelled for Ed, and they both ran over to the car.
They joined an off-duty firefighter who had also stopped at the scene. Another motorist used their fire extinguisher to keep the flames back while another person used a crowbar and smashed the passenger side window. The driver was conscious and told them his leg was stuck.
The Zimmermans worked with two other men to pull the man free, then carried him away from the vehicle. He told them he had a gun and ammunition in the car, so they moved as quickly as they could to put more distance between them and the burning car. Shortly after, the car exploded, sending glass and metal flying.
Unharmed, the Zimmermans remained on the scene until first responders arrived. As they got back in their truck, they looked at the clock and realized only 36 minutes had passed since they arrived on the scene.
The driver involved in the accident was seriously hurt, but the Zimmermans later saw a newspaper article stating he was expected to survive. They learned he had come off a night shift and apparently fell asleep at the wheel.
For their willingness to help, TCA presented the duo with certificates, patches, lapel pins and truck decals. Hirschbach also received a certificate acknowledging their drivers as Highway Angels. EpicVue sponsors the TCA Highway Angel program.