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is the song phantom 309 a true story

Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

Red Sovine released the song “Phantom 309” in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin’ songs became unavoidable. It’s about a haunted 18-wheeler, and the story behind one of its verses is quite true, to the point that town residents worked to erect a monument in honor of the real-life hero in September, 2014.

Tommy Faile wrote the lyrics to Sovine’s single in 1966. The song was covered by dozens of artists afterward, including Jack Bond, Dave Dudley and John Waits.

phantom-309

The song is a first-person narrative by a hitchhiker, who’s trying to return home from the West Coast. After three days, at a crossroad in the pouring rain, he flags down a tractor-trailer driven by a guy named “Big Joe.”

Big Joe drives through the night and drops the narrator at a truck stop, flipping him a dime for a cup of coffee before heading off into the darkness.

The narrator walks into the truck stop and talks to the waitress about Big Joe’s generosity. She lets him know that he was picked up by a “ghost driver,” and that ten years earlier, at the very same intersection where he was picked up, Big Joe swerved to avoid hitting a school bus full of children. He lost control of the truck and was killed in the wreck.

The urban legend part about being picked up by phantom truckers is up to you to believe, but the story of the crash itself was absolutely true.

On Jan. 29, 1963, John William “Pete” Trudelle drove a tanker truck to the Chelsea River Bulk Petroleum Facility north of Boston to load up on 4,600 gallons of gasoline. Trudelle turned around and started to make the several-hour trip back to Keene, New Hampshire, near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, just across from the state of Vermont.

He started up Route 1, just north of Boston in  Saugus, Mass., on the Newburyport Turnpike.

The intersection of Route 129 and Route 1 in Saugus was treacherous. Trudelle passed under the bridge, where a blind spot impeded drivers as they went into a dip. Little did Trudelle know that there was a car stopped under the bridge, where it was waiting for a school bus to pick up children.

There was no way Trudelle could stop. Rather than plowing into the back of the two vehicles stopped, he crashed the tanker into the bridge abutment. Trudelle was unable to escape the cab as the 4,600 gallons of gas erupted. The driver of the car, Robert Mayer of Stamford, Connecticut, tried to escape, but was overtaken by the flames.

The bus was engulfed in flames, but the six children and the driver on board had time to escape. About 10 seconds after the passengers and driver got out, the bus burst into flames. The heat of the fire was so intense that steel girders on the overpass buckled from the flames.

In August of 2014, residents of the town of Troy, New Hampshire, got together to build a monument in honor of Pete Trudelle. According to an article in the Keene (NH) Sentinel, “Troy selectmen approved [the monument] in July and construction on footings for the stone on the common is well underway.” On September 13, the monument was unveiled.

The main inscription reads, “Troy’s Hero,” just below the words, “Greater love hath no man than this … To lay down one’s life for his fellow man.”

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If you’re younger than the age when “Phantom 309” was a hit single, you may still recognize the story. It was the inspiration for the “Large Marge” scene in the movie  Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

IMAGE SOURCE: Pete: John William Truedell Facebook Page

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Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at BestRide.com.

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The True Creepy Story Behind Red Sovine’s “Phantom 309″

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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.

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is the song phantom 309 a true story

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND PHANTOM 309

  • October 17, 2021

is the song phantom 309 a true story

Red Sovine released the song “Phantom 309” in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin’ songs became unavoidable. It’s about a haunted 18-wheeler, and the story behind one of its verses is quite true, to the point that town residents worked to erect a monument in honor of the real-life hero in September 2014.

Tommy Faile wrote the lyrics to Sovine’s single in 1966. The song was covered by dozens of artists afterward, including Jack Bond, Dave Dudley and Tom Waits.

is the song phantom 309 a true story

The song is a first-person narrative by a hitchhiker, who’s trying to return home from the West Coast. After three days, at a crossroad in the pouring rain, he flags down a tractor-trailer driven by a guy named “Big Joe.”

Big Joe drives through the night and drops the narrator at a truck stop, flipping him a dime for a cup of coffee before heading off into the darkness.

The narrator walks into the truck stop and talks to the waitress about Big Joe’s generosity. She lets him know that he was picked up by a “ghost driver,” and that ten years earlier, at the very same intersection where he was picked up, Big Joe swerved to avoid hitting a school bus full of children. He lost control of the truck and was killed in the wreck… read more >

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The Meaning Behind The Song: Phantom 309 by Red Sovine

Hey everyone, welcome back to my channel! Today I want to share with you the meaning behind a country classic, “Phantom 309” by Red Sovine. This song has always held a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to dive into its powerful story.

I first heard this song on a road trip many years ago. It was one of those perfect moments when the radio seemed to read your mind and played the exact song that resonated with your soul. The haunting melody and Red Sovine’s heartfelt vocals instantly captured my attention, and I was hooked from the first note.

“Phantom 309” tells the story of a down-on-his-luck hitchhiker who gets picked up by a truck driver named Big Joe. Right from the beginning, you can feel the desperation and weariness in the hitchhiker’s voice as he recounts his journey. He’s been roaming and bumming around, trying to make a buck, but luck hasn’t been on his side.

But then, like a beacon of hope, a big semi-truck appears. The driver, Big Joe, offers him a warm refuge from the cold and a ride towards his destination. The hitchhiker is grateful and curious about the name of the truck, Phantom 309. And that’s when Big Joe shares the legend behind his rig.

According to Big Joe, Phantom 309 is no ordinary truck. It surpasses all others on the road, leaving nothing but taillights in its wake. It’s a symbol of strength and power, a rig that can put all others to shame. As the hitchhiker and Big Joe continue their journey, a truck stop comes into sight, marking the end of the hitchhiker’s ride.

It’s at the truck stop where the story takes a surprising turn. The hitchhiker innocently mentions Big Joe to the waiter, expecting recognition. However, instead of recognition, there is silence. The waiter’s reaction piques the hitchhiker’s curiosity, and he doesn’t understand what he said wrong.

But then the waiter shares the tragic truth behind Big Joe and Phantom 309. Ten years ago, at the very same crossroads where the hitchhiker flagged him down, Big Joe encountered a busload of kids. In a split second, Joe had to make a decision that would change everything. He sacrificed his own life and turned the wheel, preventing a potential tragedy.

This revelation fills the hitchhiker with a mix of awe, respect, and sadness. Big Joe’s act of heroism was not forgotten by the local community, and his legacy lives on. Although he is gone, his spirit continues to help those in need, just like the hitchhiker. The last lines of the song beautifully capture this sentiment, reminding us to cherish the memories and the kindness of Big Joe and Phantom 309.

“Phantom 309” is a song that touches upon themes of selflessness, sacrifice, and the power of a single act of kindness. It reminds us that heroes exist in unexpected places and that their impact can be felt long after they are gone.

I hope you enjoyed uncovering the meaning behind “Phantom 309” with me today. This song has always stuck with me, and I hope it will resonate with you too. Let me know in the comments if you’ve heard this song before or if you have any other songs with powerful stories that you’d like me to explore. Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more music-related content. Until next time, take care!

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The Tragedy of Phantom 309

The world is now too small for anything but brotherhood. ~ arthur powell davies, unitarian minister.

burning-truck-tragedy

You’ve probably heard of haunted houses. But have you ever heard of a haunted truck?

Let me take you back to January 29, 1963.

That day, trucker John W. “Pete” Trudelle drove his tanker truck from Keene, New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston, Pete loaded his truck with 4,600 gallons of gasoline. Then he headed back to Keene.

He never made it home.

As Pete headed north out of Boston back to Keene on the Newburyport Turnpike, he passed under a bridge. Just before the bridge is a blind spot. There was no way Pete could have seen the school bus stopped under the bridge. And it was too late to avoid hitting the bus.

Making a split-second decision, Pete yanked his truck to the right and plowed into the bridge abutment. The truck exploded into flames, and Pete died instantly.

Steel girders in the bridge buckled from the intense heat. The bus burst into flames. Only six children and the driver got out in time.

As great as the tragedy was, those seven bus survivors would never have made it if not for Pete’s heroic action.

Pete was a beloved member of his community, a devoted husband and father, and a faithful Catholic. Even today, 55 years later, he is fondly remembered for his heroism.

Let’s skip ahead to 1967, the year country singer Red Sovine recorded the song Phantom 309 . Destined to become a minor hit, the song was based on Pete Trudelle’s tragedy. I’m not a country music fan, but I like this song.

The song tells the story, part true and part legend, of a trucker who picked up a hitchhiker on a cross-country journey from the U.S. west coast.

The story begins on a dark rainy night with a young hitchhiker on his way home from the US west coast. A tractor-trailer, named Phantom 309, picks up the hitchhiker. The friendly driver, Big Joe, drives through the night and drops off his passenger at a truck stop, after giving him money for coffee. Big Joe then vanishes into the gloom.

In the truck stop, the hitchhiker tells the waiter how he was picked up and befriended by Big Joe. The waiter had heard it all before. Then he tells the young man Big Joe’s story.

Ten years earlier, Big Joe had swerved to avoid hitting a school bus filled with children. The truck crashed, killing Big Joe instantly.

Over the years, Big Joe picked up many other hitchhikers, treating them in his warm, friendly way.

And so the legend was born.

While this story is part true and part legend, the point is you are all connected, in “life” or “death.” In reality, there is no death because you are not  your physical bodies. You are pure spirit, immortal and eternal.

The more you focus on that “fact of life,” the more powerful and even life-changing your human relationships will become.

You will know, beyond any shadow of doubt, you are eternally bound together. Not only with those you share your physical bodies and world with, but also with us in the realms of Spirit.

The greater your awareness of that fact, the greater will be your sense of connection with all that is—all creation. The “tragedy” of death cannot separate you.

Then you will feel, deep within your heart and soul, that oneness that binds you forever. That sense of oneness is the answer and the solution to every one of your problems. No exceptions.

Copyright © 2018 by John Cali

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Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Here’s Phantom 309 , the legend of Big Joe, told in song by Red Sovine .

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4 Responses

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Thank you, John, and Spirit! I was really missing my Mom (she passed 3 months ago) when I read this post. I needed this reminder, that we are still connected, still One. I’ve communicated with spirits all of my life, and I truly feel blessed! My aunt, who is also in spirit, recently told me to visualize our ‘separation’ like looking down into ocean water and putting your hand in it. You can’t see the edge of the water, but you know it’s there. Some can see the sea life in the water, some can’t. I hope that makes sense! It did to me, and was very comforting. It made me feel closer to her, and to my Mom. I also remember this song, but didn’t know the history. Thank you for sharing it! Love and light! Tracy

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You’re most welcome, Tracy! I think I know how you must feel. Recently, one of my close family died suddenly. Though we miss our loved ones’ physical presence, it’s comforting to know we’re still connected, as you say.

I think your aunt’s analogy makes perfect sense. It’s a beautiful way to describe what is difficult for many to accept.

Glad you liked the song. I hadn’t heard it in years, but “accidentally” came across it a couple weeks ago.

Love and light to you too, Tracy, John

' src=

It’s kind of weird, reading this today. Having breakfast I was pondering about part of our being left behind , how we are separated. The thing is even ghosts are part of us as they are or seems to be an echo of themselves left behind. If we can reconcile what we believe is possible and reach within and opening our hearts to bring every part of ourselves together, we can do the same outside. This probably makes little sense. It’s something I’m working with and I only have this impulse to figure it out.

My neighbour Chris passed away a few years back. Yet the day after this happened I saw him clear as day parking his truck and walking down the street.

When I was in England, I did not see the ghost but I felt it. It was tangible, I felt it watching me, curious it was as I was.

I’m sorry, I’m probably rambling. There is so much energy that I may need to put on some music and dance.

This is a really good post and hopefully I made some sense. I’m still working through it all.

John, see you in the dreamscape 🙂

love and hugs Jeannie

Thanks very much, Jeannie.

Well, if you’re “rambling.” we could use a lot more of that around here. Keep on rambling. 🙂 You’re making perfect sense.

I’ve been visited by “ghosts” ever since I was old enough to walk. They almost always brought much love and comfort.

Love and hugs, John

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IMAGES

  1. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

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  2. Phantom 309 , Red Sovine , 1967

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  3. Phantom 309

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  4. Del Reeves / Phantom 309

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  5. phantom 309 LP: Amazon.co.uk: CDs & Vinyl

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  6. The Phantom 309

    is the song phantom 309 a true story

VIDEO

  1. New Love Status 💖 Romantic Video Status 💕 Hindi Romantic Love Song 🔴 New WhatsApp Status Video 2023

  2. Phantom 309

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COMMENTS

  1. Phantom 309

    Cultural allusions In the movie Pee-wee's Big Adventure, protagonist Pee-wee Herman, hitchhiking at night, is given a ride by trucker Large Marge, who proceeds to tell him of a horrible accident that occurred on the night in question years before, scaring him so that he requests to be let off sooner than he planned.

  2. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

    It's about a haunted 18-wheeler, and the story behind one of its verses is quite true, to the point that town residents worked to erect a monument in honor of the real-life hero in September, 2014. Tommy Faile wrote the lyrics to Sovine's single in 1966.

  3. It Was a Real 1963 Semi Truck Crash That This Song Was Based on

    It Was a Real 1963 Semi Truck Crash That This Song Was Based on The Ghostly True Story Behind Red Sovine's Country Hit "Phantom 309″ Bill Love Published: July 11, 2020 Getty Images In 1967 artist Red Sovine narrated the story of a hitchhiker who crosses paths with the ghost of a trucker who died in a horrible fiery crash.

  4. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

    SPECIAL Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309 Staff Writer Rockford Register Star Click Here: Visit the Best Ride Midnight Oil Blog Click Here to Find Cars for Sale Red Sovine...

  5. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

    Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309 Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309 BestRide | Oct 29, 2015 Red Sovine released the song "Phantom 309" in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin' songs became unavoidable.

  6. Phantom 309

    Whether or not you believe the urban legend part about being picked up by a phantom trucker is up to you, but the story of the crash itself is true. On January 29, 1963, John William "Pete" Trudelle drove a tanker truck to the Chelsea River Bulk Petroleum Facility north of Boston to load up on 4,600 gallons of gasoline.

  7. The True Creepy Story Behind Red Sovine's "Phantom 309″

    The true story of Phantom 309.

  8. The Meaning Behind The Song: Phantom 309 by Red Sovine

    Released in 1967, it tells the story of a hitchhiker who is offered a ride by a mysterious truck driver named Big Joe. As the haunting melody echoes through the speakers, listeners are enveloped in a tale that dives deep into the human experience, exploring themes of compassion, redemption, and the power of simple acts of kindness.

  9. The Meaning Behind The Song: Big Joe and Phantom 309 by Tom Waits

    Table of Contents Tom Waits is known for his unique storytelling style, and one of his most captivating songs is "Big Joe and Phantom 309." Released in 1975 as a part of his album "Nighthawks at the Diner," the song tells a heartfelt story of compassion and redemption.

  10. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

    Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309 BULLETIN-TAB Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309 Staff Writer Wicked Local Click Here: Visit the Best Ride Midnight...

  11. THE TRUE STORY BEHIND PHANTOM 309

    It's about a haunted 18-wheeler, and the story behind one of its verses is quite true, to the point that town residents worked to erect a monument in honor of the real-life hero in September 2014. Tommy Faile wrote the lyrics to Sovine's single in 1966.

  12. The Meaning Behind The Song: Phantom 309 by Red Sovine

    According to Big Joe, Phantom 309 is no ordinary truck. It surpasses all others on the road, leaving nothing but taillights in its wake. It's a symbol of strength and power, a rig that can put all others to shame. As the hitchhiker and Big Joe continue their journey, a truck stop comes into sight, marking the end of the hitchhiker's ride.

  13. Red Sovine

    0:00 / 3:48 Red Sovine - Phantom 309 cmerr85 197 subscribers 66K views 13 years ago Red Sovine's Phantom 309. About a ghost truck that gives a ride to a man walking down the road in the cold...

  14. Cursed Cars III: The True Story Behind Phantom 309

    Red Sovine released the song "Phantom 309" in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin' songs became unavoidable. It's about a haunted 18-wheeler, and the story behind one of its verses is quite ...

  15. Red Sovine released the song "Phantom 309" in 1967 ...

    Comment Share 13K · 121 comments · 311.5K Plays Iowa 80 Trucking Museum · April 12 · Follow Red Sovine released the song "Phantom 309" in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin' songs became super popular. It's about a haunted 18-wheeler. The song is a first-person narrative by a hitchhiker who's trying to return home from the West Coast.

  16. The Tragedy of Phantom 309

    Let me take you back to January 29, 1963. That day, trucker John W. "Pete" Trudelle drove his tanker truck from Keene, New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston, Pete loaded his truck with 4,600 gallons of gasoline. Then he headed back to Keene. He never made it home.

  17. Phantom 309

    Song by Red Sovine/ Pictures with audio/Put together by deanr50 (Thumper)

  18. Sorry, Teddy Bear: Red Sovine's signature song wouldn't be recorded

    In short order, this form of music became his niche. Sovine continued recording, adding the "almost based on a true story 'Phantom 309'" to his discography a couple of years later. Still, it would be 1975 before Sovine reached No. 1 on the charts with the sentimental song, "Teddy Bear."

  19. How old is that story, bro?: Trucking tales, legends, ghosts

    Truckers love to tell stories. The seasoned vets especially love to booger newbies with awful tales, full of ghastly appearances and cops who tell them to run over parked cars or be issued tickets.

  20. Is Phantom 309 Based On A True Story

    1. Emotional Impact: One of the reasons "Phantom 309" continues to captivate audiences is its emotional impact. The song tells a heartwarming story of compassion and humanity, reminding listeners of the power of a kind gesture. 2. Trucking Community: "Phantom 309" has become an anthem for the trucking community.