Lending a hand came naturally to Scotland County resident Frank Murray this week when he saw a tractor trailer lose control and crash near Hardee’s in Laurel Hill.
According to the state Highway Patrol, the truck was traveling too fast for conditions when it attempted to make a turn and lost control on US-74. The accident occurred at about 1:50 p.m. on Monday. The tractor trailer had traveled left of center, struck a stop sign and came to rest on a hill near the fast food restaurant, the patrol report said.
After seeing the single-vehicle crash, Murray was quick to call emergency services and come to the aid of truck driver Curtis Watkins of Gainesville, Ga.
Because of his experience working for the NASCAR-owned International Speedway Corporation, Murray said that he knew someone had to help. As former truck driver for more than two decades, Murray also felt a kinship with the driver.
“It was quite natural and I was really glad to assist,” said Murray, who splits his time living in Laurel Hill and Talladega, AL.
Murray persuaded Watkins to go to the hospital for his injuries – going so far as to drive him to Scotland Memorial Hospital and help him check in after the truck driver initially refused transport by county EMS.
“(Watkins) was in shock and very disorganized, and didn’t want to go to the hospital,” Murray said.
Watkins, who has since been released gone home, could not be reached for comment.
Murray said the driver seems to be recovering.
“This was an accident that could have a long-lasting effect on his life,” Murray said. “I spoke with (Watkins) a couple of times since the accident and he seems to be doing OK.
“He said he’d like to spend a little time here in our little town of Laurel Hill – just not this way.”
Trooper Darryl Ford described Murray as “guardian angel” that stuck with Watkins throughout the ordeal.
Ford said Murray contacted the driver’s company to arrange for the tractor trailer to be towed from Laurel Hill. Murray later returned to the scene to collect Watkins’ personal items and take them to the hospital.
“Frank Murray was an outstanding example of a Good Samaritan,” Ford said. “Mr Murray is a shining example of a person who took the time to care for a stranger who had an traffic collision and needed help. Our society can hope there are more Mr. Murrays out there.”
Initially Murray said that he was going to refuse to be identified for The Exchange’s story, but changed his mind when he saw an opportunity to provide a good example for his three teenage sons to follow.
“In today’s society we really need to set an example. Not just for (children) but for our fellow man.”