What Happened To Lisa Kelly and Darrell Ward Trucking Company?

Lisa Kelly and Darrell Ward were not just co-stars on the hit reality TV series “Ice Road Truckers”; they were icons in the world of trucking, showcasing their incredible skills in one of the most hazardous professions. While they made an indelible mark on television, they never embarked on the journey of owning or operating a trucking company together.

The trucking world was forever changed when Lisa Kelly and Darrell Ward, the fearless duo from the acclaimed TV series “Ice Road Truckers,” took to the icy roads, showcasing their unparalleled bravery and skill. Their journey together, marked by camaraderie and adventure, ended tragically with Darrell Ward’s untimely death in 2016. This article delves into the rise and fall of their trucking company, Lisa Kelly’s resilience in the face of adversity, and the indelible mark they left on the trucking industry.

This narrative explores Lisa Kelly’s extraordinary career, her partnership with Darrell Ward, and her life beyond the icy roads.

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What Happened To Lisa Kelly and Darrell Ward Trucking Company?

The Trailblazer: Lisa Kelly’s Early Years

Born in Michigan in 1980 and raised in the rugged landscapes of Alaska, Lisa Kelly’s path to becoming a trucking legend was both unconventional and inspiring. Against her family’s wishes for a career in medicine, Kelly was drawn to the thrill and independence of truck driving. Her journey began with various driving jobs, from delivering pizzas to driving school buses, each step financing her ultimate goal: earning a commercial truck license.

Breaking the Ice Ceiling

Kelly’s early twenties marked a significant turning point as she joined Carlisle Transportation, navigating the perilous Dalton Highway. Her love for adrenaline, evidenced by her hobbies in skydiving, snowboarding, and motocross racing, prepared her for the challenges of hauling heavy loads across icy terrains.

In 2009, Kelly shattered the glass ceiling by joining the third season of “Ice Road Truckers,” becoming the show’s first female truck driver and a symbol of perseverance and strength.

A Dream Deferred: The Partnership with Darrell Ward

Lisa Kelly’s collaboration with fellow trucker Darrell Ward was a partnership rooted in mutual respect and shared ambition. They envisioned creating a trucking company that would not only capitalize on their fame but also mentor aspiring truckers. However, this dream was tragically cut short in 2016 when Ward perished in a plane crash. The loss was a profound blow to Kelly, the trucking community, and fans worldwide, leaving the future of their joint venture in uncertainty.

Personal Triumphs and Challenges

Despite the adversities faced on and off the road, Lisa Kelly’s personal life flourished. Her marriage to Travis Kelly and their idyllic life in Wasilla, Alaska, with their beloved animals, paints a picture of tranquility away from the treacherous ice roads.

Kelly’s resilience in the face of the industry’s challenges and the low compensation associated with reality TV stardom underscores her passion for trucking. By mid-2020, her net worth was estimated to exceed $500,000, a testament to her success and enduring appeal.

Legacy and Influence

Lisa Kelly’s impact on “Ice Road Truckers” and the broader trucking industry cannot be overstated. Her pioneering role on the show and subsequent appearances on “Deadliest Roads” and “The Ghost of Bigfoot” have cemented her status as a trailblazer and role model.

Kelly’s journey challenges stereotypes and inspires a new generation of women to pursue careers in trucking and other male-dominated fields. Her story is a powerful reminder of the impact of determination, skill, and the courage to follow one’s passion.

Tragedy Strikes: The Loss of Darrell Ward

The trucking world mourned the loss of Darrell Ward, who perished in a plane crash in 2016. Known for his adventurous spirit and love for the open road, Ward’s death left a void in the hearts of many, including Lisa Kelly. The details of the crash, near Rock Creek, Montana, underscored the risks Ward was willing to take, both on the ground and in the air, to pursue his passions.

The Aftermath

Ward’s passing had a profound impact on the trucking community and particularly on Lisa Kelly, who had to navigate the future of Polar Industries without her partner. His legacy, however, remains undiminished, with tributes pouring in from fans and colleagues alike, celebrating his contributions to the industry and the adventurous life he led.

Lisa Kelly: A New Chapter

In the wake of the company’s closure, Lisa Kelly did not let the end of Polar Industries define her career. She continued to be a significant presence in the trucking industry, leveraging her fame and expertise to advocate for safety and inclusivity within the field. Kelly’s journey post-Polar Industries included public speaking, appearances on other television shows, and authoring a book about her experiences, proving her resilience and enduring passion for trucking.

Inspiring a Generation

Kelly’s ability to overcome adversity and continue to inspire others in the trucking industry is a testament to her strength and dedication. Her work has not only kept the memory of Darrell Ward alive but also paved the way for future generations of truckers, especially women looking to break into the traditionally male-dominated field.

What Became of Polar Industries?

Following Darrell Ward’s passing and the subsequent departure of Lisa Kelly, Polar Industries ceased operations. The dream they built together, while short-lived, remains a significant chapter in their storied careers.

The Cause Behind Ward’s Tragic Accident

Darrell Ward’s life was cut short by a plane crash attributed to flying in challenging weather conditions without proper training or equipment, a heartbreaking end to an adventurous journey.

Kelly’s Path Post-Polar Industries

Lisa Kelly continued to forge a path in the trucking world, advocating for safety and equality while sharing her experiences through public speaking and media appearances. Her resilience and commitment to trucking shine as brightly as ever.

The Enduring Legacy

The story of Lisa Kelly and Darrell Ward is not just about their time on “Ice Road Truckers” or their trucking company; it’s about the impact they had on the industry and the inspiration they provided to countless individuals. Their legacy, built on bravery, adventure, and friendship, will continue to influence the trucking world for generations to come.


Lisa Kelly’s narrative is more than a tale of trucking; it’s a story of breaking barriers, facing loss, and finding fulfillment in life’s journey. While the trucking company with Darrell Ward remained unrealized, Kelly’s legacy in the trucking world and beyond continues to inspire.

Her life and career exemplify the spirit of adventure, resilience, and the enduring belief that women can excel in any field they choose. As she navigates the road ahead, Lisa Kelly remains an iconic figure, steering through challenges with grace and tenacity, and paving the way for future generations of female truckers.

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