The Truckload Carriers Association recently named truck driver Mike Lempka, from Adams, Nebraska, a Highway Angel for helping pull a man out of his car after he crashed through a fence and hit a flagpole while having a medical emergency. Lempka drives for ABF Freight in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
On Jan. 25, at around 9:30 a.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska, Lempka and a co-worker were walking to their trucks to start their day. Suddenly, they heard a loud noise, and then saw a car crash through a fence and hit a flagpole.
“So we ran over there and this guy is in his vehicle,” Lempka said. “He’s clearly having an episode – he’s shaking.”
Just as Lempka was about to call 911 for help, a Lincoln police officer drove up. Apparently, he had seen the car crash because the driver had been right in front of him in traffic. The officer tried to talk to the driver, but he was unresponsive, so Lempka helped the officer pull the man out of the vehicle. Then, the officer began administering CPR to the driver.
Lempka is a volunteer with the Adams Rescue Squad in his hometown, driving an ambulance, and is certified in first aid and CPR. He stood by to be of assistance to the officer, while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. The officer contacted him later to tell him the driver survived and had a pacemaker implanted in him later that day.
“This guy literally was dead,” Lempka said. “He (the officer) would do chest compressions and this guy’s eyes would open up and look around, then he would stop chest compressions and then the guy would just fade away.”
The driver having the medical emergency was incredibly fortunate that Lempka witnessed his accident and immediately reached him, and that a medically-trained police officer happened to be behind him – it may have saved his life.
“This was his lucky day,” Lempka said. “It just felt like somebody needed help – it seemed like the right thing to do.”
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 displayed while on the job. Thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting sponsor, DriverFacts, TCA is able to showcase outstanding drivers like Lempka.