UPS driver stops truck to save lives

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2000

Sometimes a hero has a cape and flies through the air and, sometimes, he comes in a plain, brown wrapper.

Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Sometimes a hero has a cape and flies through the air and, sometimes, he comes in a plain, brown wrapper.

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Local UPS delivery driver David Damron, of Catlettsburg, Ky., was recently honored by the Ashland Police Department, receiving a Civilian Service Award for taking action at a crucial moment and preventing the potential deaths of innocent people.

Damron, 36, a 13-year veteran delivery driver for UPS, has delivered parcels to businesses and residents of Ironton and Coal Grove.

Last September, Damron was driving on U.S. 60 in a company truck, heading into Ashland around 5 p.m. to drop off his truck at the UPS station, located at Paul Coffey’s Industrial Park.

It seemed to be the end of a normal, routine work day for Damron, until he noticed something suspicious.

A damaged pickup truck heading into Ashland crossed the median at the intersection of U.S. 60 and Rayburn Road, veering into the wrong lane and continuing head-on into traffic.

"I couldn’t see anyone inside the truck," Damron said. "It looked like an empty truck driving down the highway."

At that moment, Damron realized he was in the midst of a highway emergency.

"The truck was driving head-on into (opposing) traffic in the passing lane," he said. "There were cars between myself and the truck that (evaded) the truck’s path. They nearly hit the truck head on."

Damron pulled his emergency brake and turned on his hazard lights to stop cars behind him. He then immediately darted out of his vehicle to take control of the situation.

"I ran about 80 to 100 ft. to get onto the vehicle and stop it," he said. "This all happened in a matter of seconds."

To Damron’s surprise, there was someone in the moving truck, apparently unconscious behind the wheel.

"When I tried to open the driver’s-side door, I noticed there was someone inside," he said. "He apparently had a seizure behind the wheel, and wasn’t responsive.

"It just happened all so fast, I just wanted to get it stopped, and then when I realized there was someone inside (the moving truck), it was just that much more important to get the truck out of traffic."

While Damron was racing to the truck, traffic continued, about 55 mph, around the damaged truck, which was still veering dangerously out of control.

Fortunately, the driver’s-side window was open and Damron was able to stick his hands inside the truck and grab the steering wheel. While running alongside the moving truck Damron miraculously took control and steered the truck safely to a halt on the center median of U.S. 60.

"Once the truck was stopped, I just tried to flag down anyone that could provide medical assistance," he said. "An off-duty paramedic and an Ashland police officer eventually showed up and took charge of the situation."

Although the emergency did not allow him time to think, Damron said he is now glad he helped save a life.

"It’s a good feeling you saved someone from bodily harm," Damron said. "The potential at the time was serious, but it ended up OK, and no one was hurt.

"I have a wife and two daughters, and if they were in danger of being hit head on from someone out of control (as in that situation), I would hope that someone would do the same to protect them and others in harm’s way."