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Husband and Wife Team Named Highway Angels
Cliff and Wanda Humphrey, team drivers for Prime, Inc., of Springfield, Missouri, have been named Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angels for stopping to help at the scene of a fatal accident.
On July 19, and the Humphreys were driving eastbound on I-40 through rural New Mexico. As they approached Exit 243, they heard a collision and saw a huge fireball and smoke where the overpass crosses the interstate. A passenger car, which had been the rear escort vehicle for a convoy moving the body of a wind-powered generator, had been hit by a van and shot out of the cloud — on fire —into the left lane.
After immediately stopping their truck, Wanda called 911 while Cliff grabbed a fire extinguisher and began spraying the flames. The driver from the lead escort vehicle ran down the embankment yelling that his wife and son were inside the burning car. Cliff joined the man in trying to force the doors open, but to no avail.
Tragically, because of the remote location of the accident, the police did not arrive until 30-45 minutes after the 911 call was placed. The fire trucks and paramedics took even longer. There was nothing the Humphreys could do except watch helplessly as the wife and son perished in the fire in front of the desperate husband and father.
“In this business, I accept the fact that there are going to be accidents and that I might get involved with them sometimes,” said Cliff Humphrey, a seasoned truck driver who has helped many people during his 37 years on the road. “But this was truly the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I felt so helpless because there was nothing I could do. If I could have climbed through the window to save those people, I would have.”
John Kaburick, TCA chairman and the president of Earl L. Henderson Trucking Company, Salem, Ill., said, “The Humphreys could have left the scene like everyone else, but they chose to stay and help when no one else bothered. TCA applauds their strong moral values and is delighted to bestow Highway Angel status upon this brave husband and wife driver team.”