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Hwy Angel honored for saving man trapped in flipped van

ALEXANDRIA, VA — A North Carolina driver with 28 years behind the wheel has been named a Highway Angel for rescuing an elderly man who flipped his van on Interstate 74 last summer.

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recognized Best Dedicated LLC driver of Kernersville for his quick thinking on the afternoon of Aug. 3.

While driving his rig, Debehnke saw the man’s van cross the interstate median and flip over, landing on its roof. Debehnke slowed his truck and came to a stop, running over to the van to see if anyone was hurt. Inside, he saw an elderly man lying on his stomach, still strapped in his seatbelt. Assessing the man's injuries, Debehnke went to the passenger side of the van and crawled through the sliding door. With broken glass everywhere, Debehnke moved shards to access the man still strapped in his seatbelt. 

Debehnke checked the man’s vitals and loosened the seatbelt to help relieve pressure from the man’s shoulder.

“I kept talking to him to keep him awake and alert until help arrived,” Debehnke recalled.

When assistance arrived at the scene, Debehnke gave them a thorough account of what happened. The Decatur County Sherriff’s Department called the truck driver's company and complimented them on how well Debehnke handled the situation.

Later, Debehnke was able to learn from the elderly man's family that he was going to make a full recovery. 

Debehnke says he’s no stranger to helping at accidents. “I have stopped at lots of accidents over the years. I learned first aid in the military so I try to help when I can,” he said.

For his willingness to help, TCA presented Debehnke with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decal. Best Dedicated LLC also received a certificate acknowledging Debehnke as a Highway Angel. 

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Highway Angel