Highway Hero Named

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Kenny Cass, an employee with FedEx Freight’s Portland operations, a Highway Angel for keeping his composure and helping for 20 critical minutes in the aftermath of an accident.

For his efforts Cass received a Highway Angel lapel pin, a certificate and a patch. He will also receive a FedEx 2012 Humanitarian Award later this year. FedEx received a certificate acknowledging one of its drivers was named a Highway Angel.

To be recognized by the Highway Angel program, an individual must do a good deed ranging from an act of kindness such as changing a flat tire to an act of heroism like pulling someone from a burning vehicle.

“I’m willing to help anyone and everyone when I can,” said Cass, a driver developer and a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. “I’m a people person, which is why I enjoy training new drivers and helping them accomplish whatever they set out to do. When one of my students gets a CDL, it makes me feel good. I know that I did my job properly.”

On March 22, Cass was driving on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Portland at about 8:10 p.m. when he saw a pickup truck slam into the back of a 53-foot-long semi tractor trailer.

The impact wedged the truck under the semi up to its windshield. Cass called 911 and parked his vehicle 50 yards behind the accident scene to warn oncoming drivers, then turned on his four-ways to provide illumination.

When he approached the truck he discovered that the driver was bloody and disoriented, but still alive. To Cass’ surprise, he saw that the driver was still wearing a seatbelt and talking on his cell phone.

After reassuring the pickup driver, he checked on the big rig driver. He found her disoriented but otherwise fine. Because of his driver development instructor experience, he knew her truck was equipped with reflective triangles.

Although she couldn’t comprehend what Cass was saying, he quickly found and assembled the triangles. Holding them in front of his chest as a precautionary measure to avoid being hit, he placed them far enough from the wreckage to increase safety.

Returning to the crushed pickup, Cass noticed smoke pouring from underneath it. Fearing a fire, he smashed the window and pulled out the driver, who was still talking on his cell, and helped him to a safe place to sit down. He next got the big rig driver out, taking her fire extinguisher in case he needed it if a fire broke out.

Cass suddenly realized that the injured pickup driver, who was in shock, had wandered off and was running towards oncoming traffic. He led the driver to safety and had begun applying bandages to the bleeding when first responders arrived.

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