Simple memorial calls attention to dangers on roadways

Simple memorial calls attention to dangers on roadways
Lewis Peak (Photo source: WLOX)
Lewis Peak (Photo source: WLOX)

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - This week's horrible accident on I-10 is a tragic reminder about the potential danger faced by those who drive 18-wheelers for a living. That fiery crash on the interstate Monday involved three 18-wheelers and killed one of the drivers.

Truck drivers tell us they must always be vigilant when it comes to safety. Veteran truckers say there have certainly been safety improvements within their industry, but they must always be on the defensive.

At a truck stop in Moss Point Thursday, there was a solemn reminder of the potential dangers.

"He laughed a lot.  He's a joker. He was always smiling," said Julia Jenkins, recalling a longtime truck stop customer and friend.

A simple memorial outside the Pilot truck stop in Moss Point pays respect to that man. Lewis Peak is the 44 year old trucker who was killed in that horrible crash on I-10 Monday.

"So, I felt as though we should remember him by putting up this memorial for him. Let everyone know that they're not just customers, they're people, too. And we appreciate their business and we do care," said Jenkins.

The memorial to this trucker is a somber reminder about the potential dangers drivers of 18 wheelers face every day. But those who make their living behind the wheel, are all too aware of the need for safety.

"Every mile just presents more opportunities for trouble. You've got to leave room. You've got to watch out for cars coming onto the highway, guys wanting to change lanes. I gotta pretty much figure out what everybody's going to do before they do," said West Virginia truck driver David Pratt.

Regulations in the trucking industry have changed over the years to make things safer: Drivers getting enough rest, for instance.

"If your dispatcher tells you to go, and you're not able to go, say 'hey, I can't.' You've got to stick up for yourself out there. Years ago they'd push you and push you. Now it's like, you know what?  I don't have to push myself any more," said truck driver Robert Duff from California.

The truckers say if everyone would simply follow a few safety rules, such tragedy could be avoided.

"If everybody would just slow down a little bit, pay attention to what's going on around 'em, none of these things would ever have to happen," said Pratt, who also instructs those trying to obtain their commercial drivers license.

"Everyone really appreciates what we did, they like it you know. We're just glad we could do something to show that we cared," said Jenkins, who came up with the idea for the simple memorial table outside the truck stop.

The Pilot employees say Lewis Peak came in two or three times a week; always with a smile and a kind word. The truck driver from Valdosta, Georgia, will be missed.

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