When skilled truck driver Zach Yeakley arrived on the scene of a fire-filled, chain-reaction crash, he instantly pulled over and jumped into motion. His life-saving response has been acknowledged by the Truckload Carriers Affiliation, which named him the 2022 Freeway Angel of the 12 months.
On March 17, 2022, round 8:15 a.m., Yeakley, a driver with Joplin, Missouri-based CFI, was driving to West Memphis, Arkansas, and had simply crossed the state border into Charleston, Missouri. He heard on his CB radio that there was an accident up forward. Then he noticed smoke and a person sporting a security vest flagging down drivers to alert them to the accident.
Greater than 45 autos had piled into one another in a series response in dense fog. Yeakley instantly pulled over and jumped into motion.
“I went up there; they already had a pair folks out,” he recalled. “Some folks had some damaged arms, one had a collapsed lung, just a few damaged ribs from the impression.”
Yeakley, a 15-year member of the Military Nationwide Guard, is skilled as a fight lifesaver and will rapidly assess the severity of the scene. He surveyed the scenario so he might inform the paramedics once they arrived. Hearth was spreading within the crashed autos and tires have been exploding throughout them as a result of fireplace.
“There was one man trapped in his truck,” he stated. “So me, a sheriff, a state trooper, and a FedEx driver, we did what we might to get him out.”
Yeakley and the group have been capable of pry the dashboard off of one other trapped crash sufferer and rescue him from his automobile. The flames, he stated, have been surrounding them. As soon as the crash sufferer was rescued from his truck, Yeakley and a sheriff ran again to the scene to attempt to rescue the driving force of a automotive trapped between a truck and a trailer, additionally surrounded by flames.
In whole that day, Yeakley helped rescue six crash victims from a number of autos. Police reported at the very least six fatalities from the fiery crash.
Yeakley, who has been driving a truck for 4 years, stated he wouldn’t hesitate to leap again into the hearth once more to rescue drivers, crediting his army coaching for getting ready him for the expertise.
Yeakley, from Batesville, Arkansas, was formally acknowledged throughout TCA’s Annual Conference, Truckload 2023: Orlando, after being chosen by a public vote.
“Thanks on your selfless act of braveness that morning,” stated Lance Platt, CEO of award sponsor EpicVue, presenting Yeakley with a personalised crystal truck. He additionally will obtain a complimentary EpicVue satellite tv for pc TV bundle that features a 24-inch flatscreen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DirecTV programming.
Since 1997, TCA’s Freeway Angel program has acknowledged skilled truck drivers who’ve selflessly helped others whereas on the job. From annually’s recipients, one is chosen as Freeway Angel of the 12 months as a result of she or he finest embodies the spirit of this system.
Watch Yeakley discuss his expertise on this CFI video: