Trucker’s “Heroic” Actions Save Fellow Trucker From Burning Rig Following Pileup
Walcott, IA – A trucker is being lauded as a hero after his actions saved the life of a fellow trucker along Interstate 80 near the Iowa 80 Truck Stop last month.
According to Iowa State Patrol (ISP), the fiery multi-vehicle collision occurred shortly after 2 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-80.
Local outlet KWQC reported two semi-trucks, one fuel truck and two passenger vehicles were involved in the crash.
A preliminary investigation revealed a semi-truck struck the back of another before exiting the side of the roadway and catching fire.
The blaze, which was caught on video by an onlooker, was quickly engulfing the cab of the truck.
That’s when Robert Smith of Durant, IA — the driver of the semi that was struck — can be seen approaching the burning truck.
“Oh my goodness!” the videographer declares, as Smith is pounding on the truck.
In an interview with local outlet KCRG, Smith said he yelled for the driver, but had little faith he had survived the collision based on what he was seeing.
“He (the trapped trucker) responded immediately,” Smith recalled. “I could hear his voice and I don’t remember his exact words but it’s clear that he couldn’t get out of the truck at the time.”
Smith told KCRG he tried kick the window open upon hearing the driver was still alive, but was unsuccessful.
“I need a crowbar!” Smith suddenly yelled.
A woman at the scene runs to attempt to fulfill Smith’s request, asking onlookers if they had a crowbar.
“We gotta get him out of here, or he’s going to die!” Smith can be heard yelling intensely from off-camera.
“Please, somebody! We need help! We need a crowbar!” the woman, along with the videographer, shout to anyone who can hear them.
As the video pans down I-80, Smith once again approaches the burning black semi with a TransAm trailer.
He can be heard yelling for others to get back as the fire continues to rage.
The video refocuses on Smith and the semi, who can then be seen beating the window open with a rod.
This time, his efforts were successful.
“I asked the driver if he could move, he said he could, and I said basically you need to get out now or you’re going to die and he came crawling out the window,” Smith recounted. “I scooped him up off the ground and away from the truck we went.”
“Oh my goodness,” the videographer states as Smith suddenly emerges with the trapped driver.
Smith walks the driver to safety before re-entering his own semi and pulling it away from the blaze.
The rescued driver — whose identity has not been revealed by authorities — is seen standing on the shoulder of the interstate talking to others.
ISP said the driver was later transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Thankfully, no other injuries were reported in the crash.
When Smith’s daughter, Julia, got her hands on the video, she posted it to social media to share what her dad had done.
“It was a really cool video,” she said to KCRG. “I thought dad looked pretty heroic in it. He’s pretty humble about it. Without his quick response and action, the driver would’ve died in the blaze.”
Smith’s swift action is no surprise to those who know him, however.
Before becoming a trucker, Smith proudly served as a State Trooper with ISP.
“A bunch of people have called me a hero and I guess, there’s heroes out there but I don’t necessarily feel it,” Smith stated. “I feel I did what needed to be done and I don’t know if that makes me a hero.”
We at Transportation Nation Network certainly applaud Smith and you can watch his galiant actions in the video below.