Trucker named Highway Angel for aiding baby

| Monday, May 20, 2002

Owner-operator Chad LeClair has been honored as a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for assisting a baby involved in a serious accident.

LeClair, of Spencer, IA, was driving on I-80 through Nebraska when a minivan sped past him. A short time later, the van's driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, traveled across the median, and then rolled and flipped multiple times. In the process, LeClair saw what looked like a baby thrown from the vehicle.

"I thought it was a doll at first, the way it flew out of the van and bounced on the ground," he said. In fact, LeClair, who is trained in first aid and CPR, stopped his rig intending to help the driver and two injured passengers. But on his way to the van he saw the baby. She was lying completely still.

As soon as he touched her, the baby moved. LeClair, who is a volunteer firefighter, then checked the infant and found only a cut in her mouth and a little cut on the back of her head. Soon after, she started to cry.

"I about lost it then. I was so thankful she was able to cry," said LeClair. "I was sweating bullets when I first got to the baby."

Even after the paramedics arrived, LeClair waited at the scene until the baby and all three adult occupants were loaded into ambulances. "It was quite an experience to see her lying there," he said afterwards about the baby. "It was like she had just been placed there."

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