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First on scene: New Highway Angel

Rick Ellis, who drives for Dustin Ellis Logging, was on the road in North Carolina during rush-hour on Aug. 31. At close to 8 in the morning, Ellis witnessed a multiple-vehicle crash. For his actions that followed, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has awarded him the designation of Highway Angel, as reported by Overdrive.

Ellis, the former 911 director for Lincoln County, North Carolina, moved his truck to the side of the road and instantaneously left his cab to check on the passengers of two of the cars involved in the accident. One of the cars had suffered such impact that it was 100 feet off the road, among some trees.

“I first checked on the car that was rear-ended, and that driver was OK,” Ellis said. “I saw others exiting their cars and approaching the vehicle that overturned, so I headed off to the woods to check on the truck.”

Ellis first thought the driver of the car in the woods was a fellow truck driver. He realized that it was a pickup truck hauling pallets on a tandem axel trailer. The driver of the car was upset but appeared to be OK physically.

“She was frantically trying to call her husband to let him know what had happened and even handed me the phone to tell him where she was,” Ellis said. “I couldn’t get her out of the vehicle because she (had) a chain link fence against the passenger door and a clump of trees at the driver’s door. I stayed with her until EMS arrived and took over patient care.”

Ellis was grateful to be one of the first people to arrive at the scene of the crash.

“Once a firefighter/EMT, always a firefighter/EMT,” he said. “I was a volunteer fireman for 12 years and in the 911 field for 15. It is a rare occasion that I would be able to be at a scene quick enough to offer any help that wouldn’t already be there.”