Marten Transport Driver James McDowell Named TCA Highway Angel


Alexandria, Virginia:

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to name Marten Transport truck driver James McDowell as a Highway Angel for assisting a young child who was choking.

On December 17, 2009, at about 11 a.m., McDowell walked into a truck stop in Kenly, North Carolina, to get a cup of coffee. He saw a group of people standing around a little girl who appeared to be about four years old. She was choking and had already turned a shade of blue, signifying that she had been choking for some time. A man – presumably her father – was hitting her on the back, but it obviously wasn’t working.

Sadly, McDowell was all too familiar with this type of situation. In 1998, his own son had died from choking. He was not present at the time, but afterward made a point of learning how choking situations should be handled. He always remembered the coroner saying that in some cases beating a person on the back is not enough to dislodge a foreign object. Stronger action is often required.

So McDowell sprang to action. He grabbed the little girl’s chin, pulled her mouth open, reached in, and grabbed and removed a chicken bone that was lodged there.

“It felt good to do for someone else what I wasn’t able to do for my son,” said McDowell.

McDowell followed up by giving the girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but she had already started breathing again. He asked her if she would be all right, and she smiled and shook her head yes.

The family was so concerned about their child that no one noticed when McDowell slipped away back to his truck, and no one even thanked him for helping. However, they did notate his truck number, because someone later called Marten Transport to convey their thanks to McDowell and commend him for his quick thinking.