Being named a Highway Angel is one of the trucking industry’s highest honors. It is awarded to a driver who has gone above and beyond in an act of selfless service to the community. This article is about one such hero who put his life on the line to help save the life of another.
Some things you are compelled to do by instinct
On May 21 around 1:30 p.m., Aiken, South Carolina native Richard Wade, a driver for Purdy Brothers Trucking, was driving his truck along I-81 through New Market, Virginia. Wade was traveling northbound when he encountered a group of Christian Bikers.
Wade noticed the biker in the rear was having mechanical problems when they passed his truck. And that is when things got very surreal, very fast.
“The whole front end just gave way and it pulled him into the guardrail on the left-hand side of the road. Its tire just folded inward, and the bike flipped. It threw him over the rail and down into the gorge.”Richard Wade in an interview with WRDW.com
Before going into trucking Wade’s career included law enforcement, fire/rescue, and work as a paramedic. He said his instincts to help others kicked in after he saw the biker thrown into the ravine.
“His head was facing down the hill with his legs up toward the hill and his left leg was completely torn back. The biker’s left leg was twisted like a corkscrew and he was bleeding out.”Richard Wade in an interview with WRDW.com
Wade fashioned a tourniquet and kept the biker talking. He called 911 and alerted the local emergency services agencies about what happened. He kept the biker alert and active while they waited for Life Flight and Fire Rescue.
Richard Wade was awarded the Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel Award earlier this month. He has received acknowledgement with a certificate, lapel pins, patches, and truck decals.