Oklahoma-based driver Harry Welker has been named the latest TCA Highway Angel for his efforts in helping subdue a belligerent man who was in a fight with a Kansas state trooper.
Welker, a driver for Melton Truck Lines, was stopped at a rest area on I-70 in Kannapolis, Kan., where he saw the Kansas trooper pulling over a van. He was with a driver trainee.
Welker went into the rest area, and while he was in there, the trooper had asked the man — who was being evasive — to place his hands on the hood of the trooper’s SUV. When he tried to handcuff the man, he became hostile and attacked the trooper, putting him in a chokehold and punching him several times. He also was trying to grab the trooper’s gun.
When Welker returned to his truck, he saw the trooper and the man in a violent fight in the parking lot.
Welker and the trainee, both Marine veterans, went to help, tackling the man and subduing him. The trooper used a stun gun and was finally able to handcuff him. The man was wanted for parole violations in another state.
“It was my natural reaction to go over there and help. I didn’t give it a second thought,” said Welker, who spent eight years as a corrections officer for the state of Missouri and also used to escort prisoners for the Marines. “I’m not out to get recognition. I’m a concerned citizen who took action when action needed to be taken.”
TCA has presented Welker with a Highway Angel certificate, patch and lapel pin. The Kansas Highway Patrol also gave Welker a plaque. “Mr. Welker, you exhibited a great deal of bravery when you, unselfishly and without regard to your own safety, responded to help [our trooper],” states the letter of thanks. “You put yourself in harm’s way for a state trooper who you did not know. Your actions undoubtedly saved [the trooper] from further injury and possibly death.”
Affected trucks include model year 2008-2018 Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4700, 4900, 5700 and 6900 trucks. DTNA says after hard brake applications, the brake light pressure switch may not activate the brake lights with the light application of the brake pedal.