A little after 3 a.m. on February 26, Ruan driver Larry Druckamiller saved a life. Because of his tremendous efforts and keen eye, he was named a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel.
Druckamiller, who operates his routes out of Ruan's Ft. Wayne, IN, terminal T095, was driving just north of Schneider, IN, when he noticed a small light out of the corner of his right eye. The light was coming from a field in the distance. Curious what it was, Druckamiller pulled over and positioned his tractor so his headlights illuminated the field. He found a badly damaged, upside-down car nearly 150 feet off the roadway. After parking his truck and running to the car, he found an injured man stuck in the vehicle. The driver told Druckamiller that he thought he had a broken collarbone and broken ribs.
"I have no idea why I went that particular way on that particular morning," Druckamiller told the TCA. "The road I took is not my usual route; it's much bumpier. Maybe that guy was praying for help, and an angel sent me that way?"
Druckamiller called 911 and gave critical information to the dispatcher. As he waited for emergency personnel to arrive, Druckamiller calmed the driver. The driver told Druckamiller he had swerved off the road to avoid an animal, and he had been in the field for more than an hour and a half waiting for someone to see him.
Each time the driver saw a vehicle, he would turn on the ignition hoping that someone would see the headlights. However, the driver was unaware that the front of the vehicle had ripped away except for one small marker light. Druckamiller had seen the small marker light that saved the man's life.
"If not for Larry, the man could have frozen or bled to death in the cold winter's night," said Ruan Safety Manager Mark Pitcock.
Druckamiller stayed with the driver as firefighters used the Jaws of Life to pry the door open and remove the driver.
"Your selfless efforts exemplify not only the best of Ruan, but the best of humanity," Ruan Chairman John Ruan III wrote in a congratulatory letter to Druckamiller. "Unfortunately, individuals are not always able to react to dire situations with calm and quick thinking; however, your ability to respond to the critical needs of an unknown individual, with the utmost care and compassion, speaks greatly of your character."
Druckamiller will receive a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch from TCA. He also earned a Gold R Award from Ruan, the company's highest team member honor.
Highway Angel recognition is awarded for a driver's "good deeds," ranging from simple acts of kindness, such as fixing a flat tire, to heroic life-saving efforts, such as pulling someone from a burning vehicle and administering CPR.