A veteran trucker who was badly beaten and left for dead on the side of the Yellowhead Highway says his hauling days are over.
Alex Fraser underwent reconstructive surgery at Royal Inland Hospital Monday night to repair a damaged eye socket and three broken bones in his cheek -injuries he received while being a Good Samaritan to a stranded vehicle's occupants.
"I look like an ex-boxer," said a weary Fraser from his hospital bed.
The 67-year-old truck driver was attacked late Friday night on the side of the highway just north of Blue River.
He was driving home to Vernon after having delivered a load of flour in Edmonton, when he says he noticed a car parked on the shoulder, its headlights facing him and its hood up.
Fraser slowed his truck and saw at least two men near the stranded vehicle.
"One fellow stood out from the lights and was waving his arms," recalled Fraser. "So I figured, OK, they've got problems; they need help."
But things took an unexpected turn when Fraser stopped his truck and got out.
He says he walked to the front of his rig to offer his assistance and heard a man's voice shout, "You truckers are all alike!"
Fraser was then hit on the back of the head and knocked out by what he believes was a third attacker who surprised him from behind. He doesn't remember what happened next, but someone beat him while he was unconscious on the ground.
When he came to, the attackers were gone and he was covered in blood, dazed and too weak to stand.
Fraser crawled to the steps of his truck and fell unconscious again, waking just long enough to get into the sleeper compartment where he blacked out for a third time.
He awoke near daybreak Saturday.
"I didn't know where I was," he said.
"The truck was still running. I figured 'I can't stay here.' I couldn't see out of my right eye - could hardly see anything at all - but I managed to drive 34 kilometres into Blue River."
The wounded trucker pulled into the Husky station in Blue River, opened the door of his cab and fell to the ground.
Those nearby rushed to his aid and called 911.
His wife, Carole, was home in Vernon when she got a phone call from a doctor telling her what had happened.
"It's so terrible," she said Monday, as her husband waited for surgery.
"You know, it's scary. What do people do? What do you do if you see someone broken down on the highway?"
Valemount RCMP are investigating the attack but, so far, they have no leads or suspects.
The British Columbia Trucking Association was also considering posting a bulletin for its members, letting them know about the incident.
"It's disturbing. I have never, ever heard of anything like this," said association president Paul Landry.
"It sounds very premeditated. It sounds very random, as in they didn't care who they got. . . . We're talking about thugs."
For Fraser, the damage done by his attackers goes beyond broken bones to something much harder to heal. After 45 years in the industry, he says his trucking days are over.
"I think I've had enough," he said.
The irony of it all: a year ago, Fraser's truck broke down on the Coquihalla Highway in 35C weather and not one driver stopped to help him.
He was bitter about that for a long time, he says.
But after being attacked as a Good Samaritan, he doesn't blame anyone for driving past a stranded motorist from now on.