2017 Bridgestone/OTA Truck Hero Award
Mississauga, Ontario – Truck drivers everyday must maintain a level of professionalism to keep Ontario’s ranking as the safest roads in North America. However, every once in a while a special driver emerges from this large group of professional as not only a protector of highways safety, but a hero.
On a storm filled day in March, 2017 Ickroop Mangat a 23 year old Kriska trainee driver was riding in the passenger seat with his Trainer when he heard “Hold on, we’re going to hit”. Looking up he saw a pile up of more than 50 vehicles and a road slick with fuel and fire.
After their 18 wheeler impacted alongside another, Ickroop and his veteran Trainer tried the doors to discover them jammed shut. Thick black smoke poured into the cab as the Trainer moved to the bunk for pillows to use as breathing filters. Trapped in the truck Ickroop decided that he and his friend could only survive by escaping through a window. Standing between the seats he kicked repeatedly at the driver side window until it shattered. Yelling to his Trainer “Follow me!” Ickroop stepped over the seat and went through with his left leg first, scratching it on the broken glass. He jumped down from the window and over fire on the ground.
“My parents always taught me that when you’re part of a team you do anything you can to help your team mates”, says Mangat, “I couldn’t leave him inside the truck.”
Now outside the truck but surrounded by burning diesel fuel Ickroop saw his Trainer struggling to get through the small window. Jumping over the fire and onto the step of the truck, he grabbed the senior driver’s collar and pulled him through the window. The Trainer fell awkwardly onto the ground lighting his hair and clothes on fire. He jumped up and began to run away but didn’t get far before Ickroop brought him into the snow and extinguished the fire. As they sat on the ground they looked up and saw their truck engulfed in flame. They had escaped less than a minute earlier.
Mangat was applauded by several hundred members of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) on November 9th when he was awarded the prestigious Bridgestone / OTA Truck Hero Award for 2017 at the OTA Awards Dinner.
After a few weeks rest Mangat returned to driving under the watch of his Owner Operator father. In the following months he has decided to follow his Dad and hopes to eventually buy his own truck. Inspired by Ickroop’s dedication Kriska CEO Mark Seymour chose to make that dream a reality at the Kriska Mississauga terminal with the gift of an International ProStar truck.
“Ickroop embodies what our industry needs”, says Mark Seymour, “he has the values and work ethic that drive him to want to be in trucking.”
The freshly painted truck with a new engine and large bow on the hood was presented to Ickroop by Seymour with family and colleagues present.
“I’m excited to be an owner operator like my Dad and Brother but I don’t consider myself a hero”, remarked Mangat, “I did what anybody would do.”☚