SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – NormAngelo Vincent Leach is a truck driver who just spent two weeks in the New York City area. He arrived on March 23.
“It was just coming into focus that that city was being hit as hard it was,” he told News 3 Sunday night on the phone. “And it wasn’t until I got there that they started saying New York is now like Ground Zero.”
The next day, March 24, he took some video of empty New York freeways, saying at one point it, seemed like traffic on Savannah’s southside was worse than what he was driving through.
“Monday morning just nothing and it was like that every day when I was there there was no rush hour. I saw planes parked at the airport which is just unheard of,” he said.
Two days later, he was wearing face protection saying what he had witnessed had made a believer out of him in terms of the dangers of the coronavirus.
The next day he posted on Facebook that had seen a crying friend who had sick relatives. He posted: “New York is making a believer out of me.”
“It went from I don’t know anybody who has it to look at all this,” he said. “At Elmhurst Hospital, I saw probably six trailers where they were throwing dead bodies in those trailers it was really surreal.”
While Leach travels the country and now lives in Charlotte, he was born and raised in Savannah and lived in the Hostess City until age 35. He says his mother and siblings still live in Savannah and his message to them and everyone else here is “take this all seriously, it’s not some story on TV.”
Leach told News 3 he had “seen the impacts of coronvavirus and whatever your governor or mayor is telling you to do, then you need to do it and stay home.”
But he says he and other truckers don’t have the option. He pointed out many essentials, especially food, are being hauled by truck.
“I hate that it’s taken this long for people to understand how important those essential services are, trucking in particular,” he said “Because if the trucking industry goes down, that’s not something you would want to happen. And you know most of the drivers that I’ve been around are all wearing masks and we all have gloves.”
“Truckers may be like nurses,” Leach continued. “If it comes to the point where truckers would start to get sick that would be a problem because it’s not like just anybody can get into a big truck and start driving.”
He says truckers want to do whatever possible to help right now.
“So it’s like we finally really get a chance to stand up we’ve watched nurses, police and soldiers. They’re always serving so so this is our chance to say we want to do our part and how can we help,” he said.
When we spoke Sunday evening, Leach was in a truck stop heading to Chicago where more cases of the virus are breaking out every day.