Jaime Pritchard of Elk Park, NC, was honored posthumously as a Highway Angel for his courageous efforts in assisting a mother and her children at the scene of a serious accident. The Highway Angel award is a program of the Truckload Carriers Association. It is exclusively sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America.
In the early morning hours of March 24, Pritchard and his family were heading home in his tractor trailer via Interstate 81 when he saw another truck bump a small car, causing it to hit a guardrail and swerve across the highway. The car finally stopped on the shoulder of the road, and smoke appeared to be coming from the engine. Pritchard parked his truck and went to help, leaving his wife and two children sleeping in the cab. He never returned to his family.
When Pritchard arrived on the scene, he found a woman and four children injured and upset. According to TCA, he spoke to them calmly, checked for broken limbs and talked to the distressed child in the front seat. The trucker told the child he was going to carry her across the highway to the safety of his truck. He lifted her off the seat, but when he glanced over his shoulder, Pritchard saw another vehicle heading towards them. He shove the child back in to the car, but Pritchard was struck and killed instantly.
Pritchard's family nominated him for the Highway Angel program, noting that he was a "loving and devoted husband and father; a brother dearly loved and missed by two sisters; the kind of man who literally gave his life trying to save a child and help people in need; to all who knew him and loved him, a real hero." LL