The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named Karl Scholl, from Calgary, Alberta, a Highway Angel for stopping to help a couple who landed in a ditch during icy road conditions.
On the morning of Dec. 27, Scholl was hauling a full truckload of freight on Canada Highway 3 near Moyie, British Columbia, when he noticed other drivers flashing their lights, signaling that there was something up ahead.
“The roads were in poor condition from ice and snow,” Scholl told the TCA. “As I crested a hill, I saw a black pickup, towing a 12-foot U-Haul, in the ditch.”
Scholl said Susan and Mark Binsted, from Calgary, were standing on the narrow shoulder. They had lost control on black ice and their truck had fishtailed, crossed the center line and landed in the ditch at an awkward angle on the driver’s side. After some difficulty, they had managed to climb out and make their way up to the road.
Scholl slowed as he approached the scene and then positioned his truck and trailer as a barricade.
“I put on my safety vest and jumped out to check on the couple,” he added.
The Binsteds were not hurt and had already called for a tow truck, but Susan Binsted told FreightWaves that they were shaken, scared and upset because the accident happened so fast.
“Oh, my God, we were just talking and before we knew it, it was just seconds,” Binsted recalled. “The way we landed, we were on a complete tilt. We had a hard time opening the truck door.”
Binsted said there were a lot of 18-wheelers on the road that morning. She was surprised she and her husband didn’t “meet up with a truck.”
Scholl invited the Binsteds to wait in his truck with their two border collies and assured them everything would be OK. But the Binsteds had to stay outside talking to the police and the tow truck driver. However, the dogs stayed in the tow truck to stay warm. Scholl said temperatures were in the single digits (Fahrenheit) outside.
Scholl set up traffic cones behind his truck to alert other drivers and began directing traffic in both directions to prevent further accidents.
“He put all these cones going up the hill so drivers could see us from very far away,” Binsted explained. “That gave them time to slow down. That made us feel safer.”
Because snowbanks were blocking most of the shoulder, everyone could now stand safely on the road.
Once the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived on scene, they let Scholl continue directing traffic. It took two hours for the tow driver to pull out the couple’s truck and U-haul. Scholl directed traffic the entire time.
“I’m really glad that everyone stayed safe that day,” Scholl said. “I just told them [the Binsteds] that whenever something like this happens, just pay it forward.”
They took the message to heart, sending a letter to Scholl’s employer, Winnipeg-based Bison Transport.
The letter read, in part, “not only did [Karl] help us on this very unpredictable and frightening morning, but he restored faith in our hearts that human kindness and caring goes a long way on a very cold December morning. Thanks to Karl we have learned to pay it forward and we will always stop to lend a hand to those on the road in need. Thank you Karl we are forever grateful.”
Susan Binsted said that just last weekend she thought of Scholl when she stopped her car to help a woman up who had slipped on an icy sidewalk and was having trouble standing. Binsted stayed with the woman until her ride arrived.
TCA awarded Scholl, who has been driving his entire two-year career with Bison Transport, with a certificate, patches, lapel pin and truck decals. He said he was definitely not expecting the recognition. Bison Transport has also received a letter acknowledging Scholl as a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for showing exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage on the job.
You might also like: