Tabitha Moshier says she knew something was wrong when her truck driver husband, Doug Moshier, didn’t respond to her texts or telephone calls throughout the day on Sept. 24.

The previous night, Tabitha said she talked with Doug for hours as finished his post-trip paperwork, took his vitamins and prepared to climb back into his sleeper berth to go to bed. 

“I told him I would meet him in dream land in a little bit,” she told FreightWaves.

That was the last time she spoke to her husband.

Tabitha admits her husband had been feeling rundown and had started coughing a few days earlier, she said. After his death, a medical examiner determined that Doug tested positive for COVID-19.

The Moshiers weren’t vaccinated, Tabitha said, because they didn’t “believe in the government’s scare tactics to force us to get the vaccine.” 

How they met

Tabitha and Doug Moshier met in September 1990 in Oceanside, California, two years after Doug got out of the Marines. The couple were together for 31 years and married for almost 25 years.

Truck driver Doug Moshier served in the Marine Corps. Photo: Submitted photo

“He proposed to me at the convenience store where I worked and we got married at the Express Stop in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where I got transferred to,” she said. “He was my soulmate — he was born exactly nine months after me — he was made for me.”

Doug and Tabitha Moshier’s wedding day: Submitted photo

Constant communication

The Moshiers both wore headsets as many truckers do and it was common for them to spend hours on the phone each day as he rolled down the highway. Tabitha, who also has a commercial driver’s license, had recently taken a break from trucking to care for her ailing mother.

When he didn’t respond to her messages, Tabitha said she knew something was wrong.

“I messaged him the first thing the next morning, then I called him while I was out walking the dogs and he didn’t answer and I continued to text and call him throughout the day,” she said. “If he wasn’t talking to me on the phone, he was talking to some of our friends who are also truck drivers. This wasn’t like him to not answer his phone.”

Around 6 p.m. Friday, Tabitha decided to call the Chesapeake House Travel Plaza in North East, Maryland, where Doug had parked the night before. When the numbers she tried for the travel plaza sent her to voicemail, she called back and selected another option that connected her to the Maryland State Police. She asked them to do a wellness check and gave the trooper the location of her husband’s truck.

“I explained that my husband was a truck driver and I hadn’t heard from him all day and I wanted to make sure he was all right,” she said.

Two hours later, a state trooper called back and delivered the news she feared — Doug had passed away in his truck.

“I answered my phone and when she told me, I screamed, ‘No,’ and I guess I tossed my phone and was trying to run away from the call,” she said. “I ran out of the house, down the stairs and into the grass and was bawling but I forgot that I still had my headset on so the trooper could hear everything.”

Prior to receiving the news of Doug’s death, she and the couple’s son, Maverick, were finalizing a plan to drive six hours from their home in Broadway, North Carolina, to Maryland. Tabitha said the plan was she would finish making Doug’s deliveries if he was too sick to drive. Maverick was going to follow in the couple’s pickup truck.

Logistical nightmare

While some carriers step up to help the families of truck drivers who die in their rigs because of a medical condition or a fatal crash, many do not.

That’s because there’s no federal mandate requiring carriers to pay the expenses when a driver dies on the road for any reason.

Instead, Tabitha Moshier charged nearly $2,000 on her credit card to have her husband’s body flown from Maryland to North Carolina. For six days she worked to ensure that Doug made it on a flight so he could be home by Thursday, his 53rd birthday. 

His body arrived late Wednesday, Tabitha said, along with his truck, which she had to clean out. His wedding ring, jewelry and other personal belongings were still inside.

“I still can’t believe this has happened,” Tabitha said. 

Moshiers healing from son’s tragic loss

The Moshiers, who have a blended family of four sons, suffered another tragic loss more than a year ago when the couple’s son, Trevor Moshier, 24, was killed in a fatal car crash on July 4, 2020.

“We were all still trying to bond and heal from Trevor’s passing and now Doug’s gone,” she said. 

Doug didn’t have life insurance, Tabitha said, because he was hired as an owner-operator to drive for a company leased to XPO Logistics. She isn’t sure how she will afford the funeral home and transportation expenses as most are requiring payment upfront. 

She plans to apply for financial assistance for funeral expenses from COVID deaths through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but she isn’t sure how long it may take to receive the funds if her application is approved.

For those wanting to help out, donations can be made directly to Smith Funeral Home in Broadway, which is handling Doug’s arrangements. 

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