Jim Higginbotham of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was recently named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). He is a professional driver for Stone Trucking Company, a flatbed, oversize and heavy-haul carrier based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Higginbotham was recognized for his willingness to stop and help a victim following a serious two-car accident that ejected a driver from one of the cars.
On Friday, May 3, 2019, Higginbotham was leaving Ramona, Oklahoma – about 25 miles north of Tulsa – heading for Pierce, Colorado. He was hauling an oversized load on US-75.
Higginbotham told TCA it was a rainy, miserable kind of day, and the National Weather Service (NWS) reported thunderstorms in the area that afternoon.
Although the posted speed limit was 70 mph, Higginbotham said he was only going about 50 mph due to the conditions. He didn’t get very far from Ramona when he saw the accident. Two small cars had collided, and it looked as though one had t-boned the other. As he got closer, Higginbotham could see a man lying on the pavement with a ball cap and shoe nearby. He safely slowed down and quickly changed lanes to avoid hitting the man, then pulled to the shoulder and stopped just ahead of the wreck.
Without a moment to spare, Higginbotham ran back to the scene, worried that oncoming drivers might run over the injured man. He said it looked like the other driver had been going southbound on the divided highway and had pulled into a turnaround, attempting a U-turn, but ended up t-boning the man’s northbound car. The force of the impact ejected the man, who was now lying unconscious and seriously injured on the pavement. Higginbotham frantically began waving his arms to steer oncoming traffic to another lane.
A few minutes later, an off-duty volunteer firefighter pulled up to the scene. He rushed over to check on the injured man and told Higginbotham the man was breathing. Higginbotham then went to check on the other driver. She was conscious, but also dazed, confused and bleeding, possibly going into shock. Higginbotham stayed with her until emergency vehicles arrived about 20 minutes later.
Higginbotham said he’s unfortunately seen many situations like this. He’s a 10-year veteran heavy-duty wrecker operator but said it’s still a shock to see serious accidents. Getting back in his truck, he decided to take his time the rest of the day. He didn’t drive as far as he had planned and gave himself time to reflect and process what he experienced that afternoon.
For his willingness to help, TCA gave Higginbotham a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. Stone Trucking Company has also received a certificate acknowledging its 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.