STOW, Ohio — A truck driver from Stow has been recognized as a "Highway Angel" for rescuing a woman in Kentucky from a burning car back in March just moments before it exploded, according to a news release from the Truckload Carriers Association.
The driver, Robert Coats, a driver for Hogan Transports out of St. Louis, Missouri, was heading south on I-65 on March 24 when he saw a plume of smoke coming from a three-vehicle crash. When he got closer, Coats saw two commercial vehicles and a car on fire, the release said.
According to the Truckload Carriers Association, Coats pulled his vehicle over and ran up to the crash, where he saw a woman trapped inside the car. Unable to open the driver's door due to the fire, he grabbed a fire extinguisher and fought back the flames until he could climb into the back seat of the car. Once inside, he helped the woman climb out of her seat and into the back and then then pulled her to safety through the rear door window. The car exploded seconds later.
The woman was flown to a hospital for treatment, the release said. A few weeks after the crash, the woman reached out to Coats to say "thank you" and later met him in person, again.
Kentucky State Police said Coats "went above and beyond and saved this lady's life. He is a tribute to his profession."
Coats joins the ranks of around 1,300 other individuals who have been named a "Highway Angel" since the Truckload Carriers Association's program was started back in 1997 to honor those who have shown "exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job."
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