MEMPHIS (WRCB) - For the first time since the program began in 1999, a driver from one of TDOT's HELP trucks has been killed doing his job.

It happened Monday on Interstate 55 South in West Memphis, Arkansas. According to a news release emailed to Channel 3 Eyewitness News, Robert Nowicki was fatally injured in an accident as he stopped to assist a motorist. Nowicki had been with the Tennessee Department of Transportation since 2006.

Nowicki was recognized as an exemplary employee by the HELP program in 2009 for delivering a baby when he stopped to assist a motorist, according to the release.  Nowicki was a former NYPD officer who responded to the 9-11 attacks.  

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Robert Nowicki and our hearts and prayers are with his family", said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. 

"Every day, dozens of our HELP truck operators like Robert assist motorists along Tennessee's freeways, risking their lives.  This is a tragic reminder of how dangerous highway assistance jobs can be, and how motorists must use extreme caution any time they see our HELP trucks on the side of the road."

HELP trucks patrol the most heavily traveled freeways in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville seven days a week, with the purpose of reducing traffic congestion, improving safety, and assisting motorists in distress.