The Truckload Carriers Association has named Charles Vos, a professional truck driver with Bison Transport, a Highway Angel, for helping free an unconscious truck driver from his burning truck.
Charles Vos had just turned onto I-335, the Kansas Tollway, near Emporia, Kansas when he saw a fire in the distance. “In Kansas they do a lot of range burning,” shares Vos. “I thought it was a farmer’s tractor on fire.” His’ wife, Reynette, often travels with Vos. As they got closer, they realized it was a truck and Reynette told Charles she could see someone in the cab.
Vos immediately pulled over and grabbed a fire extinguisher, then he and Reynette rushed over to the burning truck, but the fire was too advanced.
“An older gentleman was trying to get into the cab to free the driver who was unconscious,” says Vos.
Two other motorists stopped and rushed over as well. Vos later learned they were an off-duty police officer and his wife, who was a nurse. The officer struggled to cut the driver’s seat belt, and then asked Vos to help get the man out of the cab. Although the flames were rapidly spreading, they hadn’t yet reached the driver’s side of the cab.
“We dragged him up the ditch to the shoulder, maybe 50 yards away,” says Vos. A few seconds later, the truck was fully engulfed in flames. The driver was in respiratory arrest and was bleeding from the mouth. “The nurse and I took turns doing chest compressions as her husband went to grab a First-Aid kit,” shares Vos.
Meanwhile, Reynette tried to direct traffic away from the shoulder where they were working on the driver. It took 40 minutes for a state trooper to arrive.
“He had a breathing apparatus with him so the nurse could safely start breathing into his mouth,” he says. It was another 10 minutes before an ambulance and the fire brigade arrived. Vos shares with TCA that the man did regain consciousness during that time. “
We don’t know if he survived or not. We did as much as we could.”
“We wonder about his family,” shares Reynette. “It’s a heart-wrenching situation just thinking of the family at home. We want to give our Heavenly Father all the honor, because a lot of things could have gone wrong that day and He was the one that protected all of us at the scene.”
For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA has presented Charles Vos with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. His employer has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.