Shawn Neel has been a professional driver with Skyline since 2015. Before that, he was a medic in the military with 18 years of combined service in the Navy and the Army. He says he doesn’t often see incidents on the roadway that require him to intervene, but July has been different
“I try not to leave my truck unless there’s been a major accident and I can see that someone needs assistance,” says Shawn. “It’s a rarity to stop but this month, it’s happened twice.”
In the first incident, Shawn was traveling along “Alligator Alley” on Hwy 75 in Florida when he came upon a wreck. A young man, who was driving to Fort Myer, had lost control of his car and destroyed a guard rail. Shawn’s training kicked in as he stopped his rig about 300 feet back for safety and ran to check out the scene.
“As soon as I saw smoke and small flames, I rushed back to my truck and grabbed my fire extinguisher. I’m glad that I did.”
The driver was trying to put out the fire with water, but Shawn knew it was a grease fire and quickly extinguished it. After surveying the crash scene, Shawn realized the victim was lucky to be alive and waited with him until help arrived.
The second incident this month was much more serious and Shawn’s training and response may have saved multiple lives.
“We were coming out of Mount Juliet, TN and as we pulled onto I-40, I saw traffic was completely stopped. I looked over and could see smoke and wreckage, so I pulled off onto the emergency lane and ran across the highway.”
Shawn says there were three pick-up trucks badly mangled. The truck in the back had hit everyone at 70 mph and Shawn could see multiple injuries. In order to be compliant with HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Shawn doesn’t want to discuss the injuries, other than there were four people injured, and he and another man rendered assistance until the fire and rescue teams arrived.
Worthy of note, the other man on the scene working alongside Shawn to stabilize injuries was actually an old military friend.
“He was a major in the Army National Guard and we had served together in Iraq at the same time. I hadn’t seen him since but he is currently stationed out of Nashville and just happened to be at this same scene. It’s a small world sometimes.”
Shawn says it was critical that the two of them had medical training and were first responders. He suspects that their assistance was life-saving.
We asked Shawn if there’s anything he’d like to tell drivers as they travel on the roads.
“Be careful and remember there are other people on the road, not just you. And watch out for big trucks. Give us safe distance because we can’t stop quickly.”
Amazing job Shawn! Thank you for being a hero. Skyline is proud to have you on the team!
Shawn Neel is pictured above in the brown shirt and pants.