LONDON, Madison County — Truckers on Thursday were continuing to talk about the hijacking of a semitrailer cab and kidnapping of a truck driver from a truck stop in Madison County that led to a pursuit, a standoff and shooting near the Dayton airport in Montgomery County.
Mark Mills, a trucker who was at the TA Travel Center on U.S. 42 near London when the incident began early Wednesday morning, said he watched as police tried to keep the truck cab commandeered by Rodney and Elaine Helman from leaving the truck stop.
“About two a.m., my truck shook and I thought someone was trying to steal my chains,” Mills told News Center 7 Reporter John Bedell on Thursday. “But in the blink of an eye, that Freightliner truck just darted out, hitting the [London] police car.,”
Mills said truckers on Citizen’s Band radio have been talking about the incident all day.
“One guy will say, ‘Hey, I saw them approach over here.’
Another guy will say, ‘it looked like he opened the door regular and friendly.’
The other guy will say, ‘No, you didn’t see exactly what he had in his hand.’ "
The driver, taken hostage when Rodney Helman pointed a gun at him, suffered minor injuries. His employer, Werner Enterprises of Omaha, Nebraska, has not made his name public.
Mills said he had not heard that Rodney and Elaine Helman, 54 and 51 years old, died at Miami Valley Hospital after they were mortally wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers as they sat in the truck cab with their hostage.
“I am absolutely glad he’s OK. He did not deserve it,” Mills said. “He was probably fearing for his life telling them, ‘look, spare me, do what you got to do.’ And I don’t blame him, I really don’t ... you gotta watch your back.”
Another trucker, who asked not to be interviewed on camera, said he woke up to his dog barking and the couple trying to get into his truck. The barking prompted them to run to another semitrailer.
When the trucker was asked what would have happened had his dog not barked and the intruder had gotten into his truck, he said, “I would have shot him.”
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