Epes Transport driver led authorities to victims, who were trapped and invisible from the highway
Joseph Weavil, a truck driver for Epes Transport of Greensboro, North Carolina, is the Truckload Carriers Association's (TCA) most recent Highway Angel. Weavil notified authorities and led them to an accident scene that was not visible from the road. On December 22, 2009, Weavil was driving north along I-95 near the Pocahontas Parkway in North Carolina when he saw a car hit a guardrail rear-first and flip over, disappearing down a steep embankment. No other passing vehicles slowed down or braked, so Weavil took it upon himself to alert authorities.
"I knew from the road no one could see them - in fact, it took me a few minutes to locate them myself, and I knew where to look," said Weavil. "You couldn't see their headlights or tail lights; the car was completely blocked from view by the high snow, which had been pushed over the guardrail."
The car had fallen about 25 feet into a creek and landed upside down, trapping the father and his children, a twin boy and girl who appeared to be about five years old. The embankment was too steep to climb down from that point, but Weavil scoped out a place where authorities could make their way down to the car and waited on top of a snow pile to direct police to the car.
State police Sgt. Chris Clark was one of the first on the scene. "If it hadn't been for him, we would have never seen the accident," he told a reporter from the Winston-Salem Journal. "It wasn't visible at all from the interstate."
Clark used a baton to break open the vehicle's window because the car had electric windows. The children had unbuckled themselves from their car seats and were sitting inside on the roof of the upside down car. It took a few minutes to extract the father, who was wearing a seat belt and was twisted around.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the father and children would still be there if it hadn't been for the truck driver witnessing the accident and going the extra effort, staying at the scene and directing emergency personnel," Clark continued. "They wouldn't have been able to get out on their own. The father had a cell phone, but it was dead."
Weavil is thrilled that he was able to help the family. "I've got two kids myself," he said. "If I don't help when I know someone's in trouble, how can I expect anyone else to stop and help if it were my own kids?"
Now that Weavil has been accepted as a TCA Highway Angel, he will receive a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for the kindness he showed that day. Epes Transport will also receive a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
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