Christopher Lloyd of Airline Transportation Specialists, Inc. Receives 2021 Highway Angel of the Year Award

03/22/2022

Professional truck driver saves critically-injured motorists from burning car in early morning hours.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada:

Christopher Lloyd, a professional truck driver with Airline Transportation Specialists, Inc., based in Eagan, Minnesota, has been named the 2021 Highway Angel of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and its Presenting Sponsor, EpicVue.

Lloyd, from Meridian, Mississippi, was formally recognized during today’s general session at Truckload 2022: Las Vegas held at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Lloyd was one of three 2021 Highway Angel recipients who were finalists for this prestigious honor. For the first time in the program’s history, the public was encouraged to cast votes for this year’s recipient. More than 1,600 individuals took part in the poll.

It was 3 a.m. one morning in late November 2020 and Lloyd was driving along a surface street on his way to the FedEx hub in Nashville when he came upon a single-vehicle crash. A car had struck a galvanized power pole at a high rate of speed.

When Lloyd arrived at the scene, the engine compartment of the crashed vehicle was completely engulfed in flames. “There were other vehicles pulling up and watching, taking pictures, but not getting out to help,” Lloyd shared with TCA. Without a moment to spare, he safely pulled over and called 911 then grabbed his fire extinguisher and jumped out of his cab.

“I couldn’t get the flames out completely,” he recalled. He tried the doors but found them locked. “I ran back to the truck for a winch bar and my 10-pound hazmat extinguisher to finish putting the fire out and to bust out the windows.”

The car’s cabin was filled with smoke. Other people had stopped to help. Lloyd found the driver pinned behind the wheel. “She was unresponsive, but breathing,” he said. “The male passenger ended up in the back seat and was in pretty bad shape. I checked and found a pulse and he was breathing.” He directed another person to hold the man’s neck still and not to move him. Lloyd shared that since the fire was extinguished that was the safest thing to do until emergency responders could arrive. The driver and passenger were both transported in extremely critical condition. Lloyd later learned that he was the only one who called 911. A police officer told him the pair would have burned alive if it weren’t for him.

“That wasn’t my normal run that night,” said Lloyd. “The driver that usually takes that run had broken down. The dispatcher called and asked if I could take it. I was delayed by over an hour, but somehow it all lined up for me to be there at that precise moment in time to hopefully save their lives.” He hasn’t been able to get an update on their condition. “I hope the best for them,” he said.

Lloyd shared that he became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 16 and went to a fire-fighting academy. He later joined the Coast Guard. “The night of the fire, it all came flooding back . . . how to manage a scene,” he said. “Just like it was yesterday.”

“Thank you for your selfless act of courage that night,” said EpicVue CEO Lance Platt after presenting Lloyd with a personalized crystal truck.

On stage, Lloyd, joined by his wife Chrissy and 10-month-old son Jimmy, was presented a personalized crystal truck.

“Airline Transportation is very proud of Chris and feel so honored to have such a man representing our company,” shared company president Tom Medved. “His hard work as a driver is only exceeded by the size of his heart.”

Medved added, “Our company is so happy that Chris is receiving recognition for his brave actions and feel very privileged to work with such a man every day!”

Lloyd will receive a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flatscreen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DIRECTV programming, including premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the NFL Sunday Ticket.

Since 1997, TCA’s Highway Angel program has recognized professional truck drivers who have selflessly helped others while on the job. From each year’s recipients, one is selected as Highway Angel of the Year because he or she best embodies the spirit of the program.

View photos and updates from Truckload 2022: Las Vegas by following the hashtag #2022TCA on social media networks or access our event album here.