Darin Betzer, Billings, Mont., and Monte Martin, Gladstone, N.D., were traveling separately on Interstate 94 in Montana last July during a summer downpour.
“I’ve never seen it rain that hard in that much time,” says Betzer.
As Betzer maneuvered carefully along, he was suddenly passed by a speeding car that hit a puddle, hydroplaned across the highway, and landed upside down in a field of standing water.
Three young people got out of the car, but there was one remaining female inside. Because the water was rushing fast, Betzer, who had stopped to help, couldn’t open the doors. Betzer decided that the only solution was to pull the car out of the water. He and Martin, who had also stopped at this point to help, hooked a chain to his semi and the submerged vehicle.
When the car was finally towed out of the water, the men broke a window and helped the girl out.
Betzer says that although the incident shocked him, “There was not even a doubt in my mind that I was going to stop,” he says. “They were going to come out of that water one way or another.”
The Highway Angel program recognizes hundreds of truck drivers for their unusual kindness and courtesy to others while on the job. Petro Stopping Centers and Volvo North America are exclusive sponsors of the Highway Angel Program, which was initiated in 1997. The goal of the program is to support driver professionalism and elevate public awareness of the many outstanding drivers in the trucking industry.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.