The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named Demetrius Fields a Highway Angel. Fields, an Atlanta resident, stopped to help a family after their vehicle spun out in the middle of a busy highway during a severe winter storm.
Fields was heading through Pennsylvania on Dec. 16 as a strong snowstorm was closing in. He was on his way to Indiana as Pennsylvania road crews were preparing to close the interstates as conditions got worse.
“It was coming down heavy, pretty much a whiteout,” Fields told TCA. “You could barely see the hash lines on the road.”
As Fields drove along, he saw a vehicle ahead of him spin out, hit the guardrail, then end up in the middle of the road. “He probably hit black ice,” Fields thought.
Wasting no time, Fields pulled into the emergency lane and put on his flashers. A Swift truck driver pulled over at about the same time. “We both jumped out. There was heavy traffic coming up behind, especially trucks,” Fields said. “We wanted to get the vehicle off the roadway because of the poor visibility.”
Fields and the Swift driver worked as fast as they could to help the driver out of the vehicle, and the three of them risked their safety to push the vehicle into the emergency lane. “We then got the driver’s wife and [two] kids out and put the kids in my cab to keep them warm,” Fields shared.
Demetrius Fields, driver for Hirschbach Motor Lines. (Photo: TCA, Jim Allen/FreightWaves)
He said it took first responders more than 30 minutes to arrive.
“God put me and that Swift driver in the right place at the right time,” Fields added. “If I was in that situation, I would hope someone would do the same for me.”
The driver of the crashed vehicle later contacted Hirschbach Motor Lines to say that the experience with Fields had given him a newfound respect for truck drivers.
“A lot of people don’t acknowledge what we do,” Fields said. “We’re out here day in and day out, running up and down the highway trying to make sure people across the country are taken care of. It’s a lot more than holding a steering wheel. It’s 90% mental and 10% physical.”
Fields, a driver for Hirschbach Motor Lines, has been a professional trucker for five years and was also a trainer for a couple of years. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “My very first student was my father. It was supposed to be a one and done but I enjoyed it so I kept doing it.”
Fields said he does this work for his wife and four children.
In recognition of his actions, TCA gave Fields a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. Hirschbach also received a certificate acknowledging its driver 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 the exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage they have displayed while on the job. The program is made possible by EpicVue, the presenting sponsor, and DriverFacts, the supporting sponsor.