Truckload Carriers Association and EpicVue Name 2020 Highway Angel of the Year


Stevens Transport professional truck driver, Royford Burris, recognized for stopping to help extract a young girl from fatal fiery two-car collision

LAS VEGAS, Nevada:

Royford Burris, a professional truck driver with Stevens Transport of Dallas, Texas, has been named the 2020 Highway Angel of the Year, also known as EpicAngel, by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and its Presenting Sponsor, EpicVue.

Burris was formally recognized during Tuesday’s general session at Truckload 2021: Las Vegas held at the Wynn Las Vegas.

The evening of August 23, 2020 is one that he will never forget. Burris was traveling on U.S. Highway 63 near Walnut Ridge, Arkansas with a load bound for Florida. As he descended the mountainous winding road, he noticed two vehicles in the middle of the road. One was in flames. Burris safely pulled over and turned on his flashers. A pickup pulled up at the same time. They were the first ones on the scene. It appeared that a passenger van had drifted over the center line and collided head on with a car, which was now in flames. Burris and the other motorist quickly grabbed their fire extinguishers and ran to the car. After they extinguished the flames, they discovered the driver’s body lying 20 feet away. As other cars were beginning to approach the scene, Burris ran back to his truck and grabbed some blankets to cover the body.

Burris then rushed to the van which was badly mangled. The woman in the driver’s seat was deceased. A baby, who appeared to be 6 months old and was in a car seat in the back seat was also deceased. As EMTs arrived, Burris discovered the vehicle’s sole survivor, a girl, who appeared to be 13 or 14 years old. She was trapped in the front passenger seat. She was crying and in pain and told Burris she couldn’t breathe. He told her to focus on him and promised her he would get her out. He saw a police officer had arrived and called him over. Burris managed to kick out the back door and squeezed in. He was working off of pure adrenaline as he struggled to free the girl. “I was trying to break the seat apart,” he shared with TCA. “I ripped the seatbelt out, but I don’t know where I got the strength.” He and the police officer were finally able to get the girl out through the window. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” added Burris. “Once I saw those cars, I knew that it was my duty to stop and help in any way I could. I’m sorry I couldn’t save the others.” Afterward, he learned the girl survived and was home with her father.

“Royford is a great driver and this is just another example he sets,” shared Stevens Transport’s Company Driver Manager Kenny Harwell. “Not only is he a hardworking driver, father, and grandfather, but he is also a hero. We are extremely thankful to Royford for setting the standards not only for his fellow drivers but for all of us at Stevens.”

“Thank you for your selfless act of courage that night,” said EpicVue’s Vice President of Sales Kyle Hales after presenting Burris with a personalized crystal truck.

Burris will also receive a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DIRECTV programming, including premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the NFL Sunday Ticket.

Since 1997, TCA’s Highway Angel program has recognized professional truck drivers who have selflessly helped others while on the job. From each year’s recipients, one is selected as Highway Angel of the Year because he or she best embodies the spirit of the program.

View photos and updates from Truckload 2021: Las Vegas by following the hashtag #2021TCA on social media networks or access our event album here.