New trucker assists crash victims twice in first year

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, February 17, 2016

OOIDA Member Josh Grimaldi has been a truck driver for only a year. But the year certainly has been an eventful one.

In the span of eight months, Grimaldi twice has been the first person on the scene to help car crash victims.

Photo courtesy of Josh Grimaldi

OOIDA member Josh Grimaldi helped a pregnant woman from her vehicle after a rollover crash Dec. 13, 2015, along Interstate 80 in Nevada.

“I suppose you could say I was just at the right place at the right time,” Grimaldi said. “I think it all happens for a reason.”

In April 2015, Grimaldi assisted a man who suffered serious injuries after his vehicle came off an overpass on to Interstate 45 in Texas. This past December, the Prime driver from Springfield, Mo., pulled a pregnant woman from her vehicle after a rollover crash on I-80 in Nevada.

Grimaldi earned a Highway Angel award from the Truckload Carriers Association for his most recent heroics.

With five years of military experience, Grimaldi said he knew just enough to assist the victims until medical responders arrived.

“I went through some medical courses in the military to where I could help some,” he said.

On a snowy Dec. 13 day about 30 miles east of Reno, Grimaldi said a vehicle attempted to pass him. Before reaching the front of his tractor, Grimaldi said the vehicle began to fishtail. The vehicle then became caught on his tractor-trailer’s landing gear before flipping several times and rolling over on its side near an embankment.

“Once I got close to the vehicle, I began to approach it slowly,” Grimaldi said. “The vehicle was crushed. I figured whoever was in there was definitely dead.”

But the woman inside began to scream. Grimaldi also learned from the screams that the woman was pregnant.

He said his attempts to wave down cars to help him remove her from the vehicle were unsuccessful.

“You’d be surprised how many people wouldn’t stop to help,” Grimaldi said. “I was waving my arms. There were probably 50 cars that passed, including trucks.”

Eventually, Grimaldi was able to lift her and help her on top of the car and then to the embankment. Soon after, a vehicle stopped to help and they were able to call 911.

Grimaldi said he hasn’t been able to learn the identity or status of the victims in either case.

“They wouldn’t really tell me anything when the ambulance took her away,” he said. “I never found out which hospital she was taken to. The same thing happened in Texas. I made a lot of calls but was never able to find out anything.”

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