The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has posthumously recognized Ashish Patel, 46, of Ontario, as a Highway Angel for stopping to help at the scene of a serious accident.
The fatal incident took place July 1, on Interstate 81 in West Virginia. A police report states that there were two crashes near the entrance ramp to I-81. There had been heavy rain earlier that morning.
The first crash occurred when two passenger cars lost control, hydroplaned, and drove through the grassy median, striking a parked tractor trailer and getting wedged underneath the trailer. Several motorists, including Patel and Adam “Troy” Miller, 53, of Hagerstown, Maryland, stopped to help.
As they did so, a third vehicle, a SUV, also lost control in the same area, struck the rear of the parked tractor trailer, and then hit Patel and Miller. Both men died at the scene.
Patel drove for Bison Transport based in Winnipeg, Man., and Miller drove for Portner Trucking based in Thurmont, Maryland. Miller was also named a Highway Angel.
Patel’s widow, Shilpa, shared that her husband enjoyed being a professional truck driver and always accepted challenges that came his way.
He didn’t speak English when he moved to Canada from India in 2010. He drove for Bison Transport for four years. In 2019, he received a safe driver award for 250,000 miles of safe driving.
“He helped others get their licences and learn about the job,” she said. “He always encouraged people. He always shared the good points about the driving life. If someone was looking for a job, they would ask Ashish. He said if you are young, drive a truck, it will help you have a long road for your life.”
Patel leaves behind his 7-year-old daughter, Vishwa.
TCA has presented both families a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Both employers have also received a letter acknowledging Patel and Miller as Highway Angels.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.