Thaxton man named Highway Angel for rescuing motorists from vehicle crash

Published 2:30 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named truck driver William Hancock, from Thaxton, a Highway Angel for rescuing four motorists after their vehicle crashed into an overturned 18-wheeler truck. Hancock drives for Ashley Distribution in Ecru.

On June 23, Hancock was driving on I-22 outside Fulton around 3:15 a.m. when another tractor trailer veered off the road and overturned in front of him. A Dodge Challenger came up from behind, did not see the accident, and crashed into the top of the overturned trailer, Hancock said. He immediately pulled over.

“I jumped out of my truck,” Hancock said, noting that there seemed to be smoke coming from the crashed vehicle. “It looked like the inside of the car was on fire. The biggest concern was getting them out of the car.”

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There were four passengers in the car, and Hancock proceeded to extract them from the vehicle. He was able to help three passengers out of the car, but had trouble with the fourth.

“I went around to open the passenger side door and it wouldn’t open at all,” he said.

Hancock said the woman sitting in the passenger seat was disoriented from being struck by the vehicle’s inflated airbag. He went back around to the back seat and pulled the woman over the seat and helped her exit out the back door. Miraculously, there were no serious injuries in the accident. A trucker for 24 years, Hancock recently completed cancer treatment and said he didn’t hesitate to stop to help.

“If it was my family in that car, I’d hope somebody would stop to help them,” he said.

Since the program’s inception in Aug. 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job.