Phantom 309 is a song written by Tommy Faile and released as a single by Red Sovine in 1967.
The song tells of a hitchhiker (the singer, in first person) trying to return home from the West Coast. On the third day of his trip, while at a crossroads in a driving rain, the hitchhiker is picked up by "Big Joe" driving his tractor-trailer named "Phantom 309". After driving through the night, Big Joe drops the hitchhiker off at a truck stop, gives him a dime for a cup of coffee, then disappears out of sight.
Once inside, the hitchhiker tells of Big Joe's generosity and the waiter tells him he had been the beneficiary of a "ghost driver." Ten years earlier, at the same intersection where he was picked up, Big Joe swerved to avoid hitting a school bus full of children. But he lost control of his truck and died in the wreck. The waiter tells the hiker that he wasn't the first; the ghost of Big Joe had been known to pick up other hitchhikers over the years.
Tom Waits version 
The song was later recorded by Tom Waits with slightly different lyrics. This version was covered by Archers of Loaf on 1995's Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits.
Other covers 
Other artists who have recorded "Phantom 309" include Dave Dudley, Del Reeves, Ferlin Husky, and Boxcar Willie.