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Trucker honored for rescuing young accident victim

Vehicle skidded off icy highway, traveled 100 yards off road and flipped.

Photos: TCA, Challenger Motor Freight

Last winter, a routine day for truck driver David Hill suddenly turned dramatic when a teenager lost control of her car and skidded off an icy road.

“She was scared pretty good and screaming for help.” – David Hill, Challenger Motor Freight driver, after rescuing young accident victim.

On Jan. 30, 2020, Hill was on Interstate 29 just north of Fargo, North Dakota. He was coming from Winnipeg, Canada, heading for southern Wisconsin.

“There was some ice on the roads, so I was only going about 55 mph, under the speed limit,” Hill told the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), which recently honored him for the rescue. “I was taking my time, cruising along. I saw a car come up beside me. She wasn’t speeding, but as she changed lanes to come back into the right lane, she hit a patch of black ice in the center of the road.”

Hill slowed down and watched as the car slid toward a snowbank on the right-hand side of the highway.

“She flew through it like a tornado and went about 100 yards off the road into a field,” Hill added.

The car spun out, flipped, then landed on the driver’s side.

“I stopped and bailed out of my truck in my running shoes and went barreling through snow up to my knees,” Hill said.

When he got to the car, he noticed that the passenger side door was nearly torn off.

“She was scared pretty good and screaming for help,” Hill recalled. “I told her I was there.”

He climbed up on the vehicle and stood on the windshield.

“She was laying there against the driver’s door, covered in snow. She was only wearing a T-shirt and jeans, the kind with holes all over them,” Hill described the 16-year-old inside.

He jumped down into the back seat, calmed the young woman, unbuckled her, then helped her out of the car.

David Hill, Challenger Motor Freight driver (Photo: TCA)

“I grabbed her coat from the back seat and we found her boots that had flown out of the car and she put those on,” Hill said.

There was quite a bite in the air that day. According to National Weather Service records, the high in Fargo was only 24 degrees with a wind chill around 10 degrees. It started snowing during the afternoon, adding to the snowpack that was already about 12 inches deep.

“I got her back to my truck and kept her warm until the state troopers got there,” Hill said. “She wasn’t hurt, only a couple bumps on her head and some scrapes on one arm.”

She told Hill she was on her way to work.

“Being 16 years old, a crash like that, she was lucky,” Hill said.

For his willingness to help the young woman, TCA presented Hill with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. His employer, Challenger Motor Freight of Cambridge, Ontario, also received a certificate acknowledging its driver as a Highway Angel.

Since the program’s inception in August 1997, more than 1,250 drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for showing exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage on the job. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.