Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel Helps Distraught Motorist Extinguish Flames Beneath His Van

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Robert Barrett of Paris, Tennessee, is a professional truck driver for Milan Express of Milan, Tennessee.

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TCA Highway Angel Robert Barrett of Paris, Tennessee

I said to myself, ‘I’ve really got to help this guy.’

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to name Robert Barrett of Paris, Tennessee, as a Highway Angel. Barrett drives for Milan Express of Milan, Tennessee, and is being recognized for acting quickly to put out a fire for a fellow motorist.

It was August 9, 2013, and Barrett was heading home from a truck stop off I-71 in Washington Court House, Ohio. It was early morning, perhaps 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. A man with his wife and dog had been traveling in a van pulling a trailer when the van caught on fire. Fluid was leaking underneath it. The man had run to the truck stop to get a bucket of water. However, he did not realize that the leaking fluid was actually transmission fluid, which does not mix well with water. By pouring the water on the flames, he caused the fire to increase.

Barrett saw what happened and decided to help the man, who was clearly distraught. Grabbing the fire extinguisher from his truck, he was able to put out the flames before they engulfed the vehicle. The motorist was so grateful for Barrett’s help that he later called Milan Express to praise the driver and thank him.

“The guy just didn’t know what he was doing. You can’t put water on anything greasy,” said Barrett when asked about the incident. “His wife was standing on the other side of the van. When he poured that bucket underneath, the flames spread out so fast they almost got onto his wife. I said to myself, ‘I’ve really got to help this guy.’”

For his assistance that morning, Barrett, who has been driving for 23 years, has been presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Milan Express also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.

To nominate a driver or learn more about the program and its honorees, visit the Highway Angel Web site at or Facebook page at For any additional information, contact TCA at (703) 838-1950 or angel(at)truckload(dot)org.


TCA is the only national trade association whose collective sole focus is the truckload segment of the motor carrier industry. The association represents dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, and intermodal container carriers operating in the 48 contiguous states, as well as Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Representing operators of more than 200,000 trucks, which collectively produce annual revenue of more than $20 billion, TCA is an organization tailored to specific truckload carrier needs.

Founded in 1995, Internet Truckstop is the first and largest freight matching service on the Web. Internet Truckstop offers more tools than any other freight matching service available. These easy-to-use tools, the largest freight database, and a commitment to the transportation industry make Internet Truckstop the leader in Internet freight matching.

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Deborah Sparks
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