Walmart Transportation truck driver Robert Wheeler, of Crestwood, Kentucky, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for his quick action in helping at the scene of an accident when an SUV pulled out in front of an oncoming van.
On Aug. 9, Wheeler had just completed a drop-and-hook at Walmart in Greenwood, Indiana, and was heading south on Highway 135 when he saw an SUV pulling out of a strip mall parking lot. Without stopping, the SUV pulled out of the entrance and into the path of an oncoming commercial van.
Wheeler said the van had no time to react and t-boned the SUV. Wheeler was traveling behind the van and immediately pulled over and checked on the van driver before going to the SUV.
The impact pushed the SUV about 100 feet, and all of the vehicle’s airbags had deployed. He cut the airbags away and found a small child, about 2 years old, crying in the back set with the car seat nearly on its side. Wheeler got the child out of the car seat and handed him to a woman who had run up to help.
He then checked on the woman in the front passenger seat who was unconscious with critical injuries to her face. A nurse driving by stopped to help and attended to her. Wheeler then went to the driver’s side and found the door had been pushed in around her legs. She was conscious by likely had broken bones and a seriously injured neck. He touched her face, told her not to move her head and that help was on the way. The status of the people in the SUV after EMTs arrived is unknown.
“It was maybe just two minutes before help arrived,” Wheeler says. “There was a fire department about a mile down the road. They took the passenger out first, but it took them about 30 minutes to cut the driver out of the car. The driver of the SUV simply overlooked the oncoming van. She pulled into his lane and there was no stopping distance. There’s nothing the van could do.”
For his willingness to help, Wheeler was presented with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. TCA also presented Walmart with a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors the TCA Highway Angel program.