The True Creepy Story Behind Red Sovine’s “Phantom 309″
You've probably heard me play the trucker classic Phantom 309 by Red Sovine many times on our Country Classics show on WKDQ. It's the recitation about a hitchhiker who gets a ride from a semi trucker who turns out to be a ghost who died in a wreck saving a school bus load of children. Did you know the story is true?
Pete Trudelle was driving a tanker loaded with 4600 gallons of gas down route one just outside of Troy, New Hampshire on Jan. 29, 1963. There is a very dangerous dip on the road that blocks a truckers view of a dangerous overpass intersection. Waiting under that overpass was a car stopped for a school bus that was unloading children. Pete Knew he couldn't stop in time and he had two choices -- plow into the car and school bus or turn his truck into the overpass abutment.
He turned the truck away from the school bus and hit the steel girders of the overpass. 4600 gallons of gas burst into flame and took Pete's life. The last school child ran from the bus about 10 seconds before that vehicle was engulfed in flame. Everyone on the bus was saved. Just outside of Troy a monument stands at the spot today with the story of their hero Pete Trudell which concludes with the inscription “Greater love hath no man than this … To lay down one’s life for his fellow man.”
Yes there have been some that say the ghost of Pete still drives route one and sometimes he's even known to pick up a "hiker" or two. In case you've forgotten the story you can hear Red Sovine tell it this Saturday morning on COUNTRY CLASSICS here and on 99.5 WKDQ.