Ken Jackson Sr., a foreman at Prime’s Pittston terminal, has seen a lot of truck accidents in his life, but he will never forget the accident where he helped keep a fellow driver from losing a leg.
Jackson had just finished a 12-hour shift at Prime and was headed to visit a friend who owns a tow truck company. Jackson often works at his friend’s garage on his days off, and on this day his friend happened to be on the way to a truck rollover. That accident didn’t involve a Prime driver, but Jackson still agreed to go along.
They were the first tow truck on the scene, Jackson says, and when they arrived, they could hear the driver screaming in pain. “The truck was up against the guardrail,” Jackson says. The driver was trapped in a 2- to 3-foot space with his body stuck between the dash and the driver’s seat. The cab was destroyed and his leg was crushed.
The fire department on the scene tried to get the driver out from the top of the cab, but they couldn’t safely free the driver. Jackson says there were three trauma doctors on scene, the most he’s ever seen at one site, and he’s been called out to numerous accidents. The doctors said the only way to free the driver was to cut off his leg, but Jackson and his friend didn’t give up hope.
“We asked them to give us time,” he says. After watching the attempt to rescue the driver from the top of the truck, Jackson and his friend tried a new solution—they cut the floor out of the bottom of the truck.
Six and a half hours later, Jackson and his friend were able to pull the driver out of the truck, and an ambulance drove him to the hospital. “He was in a medically induced coma for two weeks,” Jackson says. “He probably won’t ever drive a truck again, but he’s alive, and he can walk.”
Between the rescue and the clean-up, Jackson and his friend were at the scene for 18 and a half hours. For the work Jackson and his friend did, they received medals from the American Towman Association. The medal is called the Courage Under Fire medal, and they were each presented with the award in December 2019. The award is especially meaningful for Jackson, who logged more than 3 million miles while driving for Prime before moving to an in-house job. That experience allowed Jackson to understand the driver’s predicament. “My biggest fear was always getting in an accident and being trapped in a truck,” he says. “I thought if I ever got trapped, cutting out the bottom of the cab might be the best way to get free.”
Jackson’s move to working in-house happened after his daughter suddenly died in 2012. Right away, he knew he needed to be back home. “I have one child left, and I needed to be home with my son and my wife,” he says. He says he loved driving; he also loves working in-house, but mostly he just really enjoys working for Prime.
“Prime is the best company I’ve ever worked for,” he says. “I’d do anything for Prime.” He says in his role now as a foreman, every day is different, and he never gets bored on the job, but whether he was driving a truck or is driving home from his in-house job, the goal is the same. “You’re driving to get home,” he says. “At the end of the day my goal is to get home safely.”
See the article in the Prime Ways issue here on page 4!
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