Goodyear North America has announced the four finalists for its North America Highway Hero Award, which recognizes truck drivers who perform acts of heroism while on the job.
And the finalists are:
Michael Knott of Casselberry, FL, a driver for FedEx Ground, who partially blocked traffic with his truck to save an injured woman and her baby daughter from oncoming traffic as they lay on the Florida Turnpike in Osceola County on Oct. 13, 2005.
Knott came upon a disabled car that partially blocked the left and center lanes and he saw a woman lying on the road. He parked his truck in the right lane, ran to the woman, and kept talking to her to prevent her from losing consciousness.
She asked Knott about her baby and he ran to the car to search for the baby. The child was missing from the car seat so he returned to the woman and she said she lost control of her car and was carrying the baby across the highway when they were struck by a car and dropped her daughter. Knott grabbed a flashlight from his cab and found her lying on her back in the median alive.
The woman then asked about her puppy, which he later found was safe in the backseat. Knott said he kept the mother and baby as warm as possible until the police and emergency teams arrived.
Douglas Crawford of Ashford, AL, a driver for Saia Motor Freight, who saved the life of another truck driver after seeing two trucks collide on I-85 near Newnan, GA, on Aug. 25, 2005. The trucks collided when one northbound truck crossed the grass median into the southbound lanes. Both trucks exploded.
Crawford parked his truck on the shoulder of the northbound lanes and ran across the median to the northbound truck. He found that the separated cab had disintegrated. The other truck rested in the ditch and he used a fire extinguisher to control the fire and yelled for the driver. The driver was injured, but able to respond. The driver was covered in diesel fuel and unable to move so Crawford pulled him out of the burning cab. Crawford removed him to a safe area and moments afterward, the tractor exploded.
A nurse who had stopped at the accident helped Crawford give first aid to the driver until paramedics arrived.
Danny R. Wallen of Conover, OH, a driver for ABF Freight Systems Inc., who saved a Thompson’s Station, TN couple after he witnessed their stalled car being struck by an SUV on I-65 in Nashville, TN on Sept. 9, 2005. Wallen stopped his truck and ran to the burning car with a fire extinguisher. Another truck driver and a pedestrian joined him in the rescue attempt.
Wallen and the pedestrian pulled the male driver form the flames while the other trucker assisted the woman passenger. The woman was screaming her “baby” remained in the car. Wallen and the other truck driver returned to the burning car to find her 17-year-old daughter trapped in the backseat. They tried to free her but the fire spread quickly from the ruptured gas tank and the young woman died.
A Nashville police officer arrived and moved the two men away from the car. The gas tank suddenly exploded. Wallen had to be treated afterward for minor burns.
Robert A. Starr, of North Troy, VT, a driver and owner of Starr’s Transportation, who saved a woman who was driving a small car in front of him when the road collapsed just in front of her on Highway 40 near Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada, on Sept. 14, 2005.
Her car hit the crevice that spanned the four-lane road and spun out. His truck’s steer tires “blew off the rims” and the sinking roadway ripped the fuel tanks and drive axles from the frame. Starr’s truck slid until it stopped just 20 ft. from the wrecked car. Starr ran to the car and found the woman trapped inside. He also noted that diesel fuel and oil from his truck surrounded the car. He rushed to the driver’s door, but it was jammed shut. He managed to pry open the passenger door and pulled the woman out just before the car caught fire.
The woman was afterward treated for injuries, which included a broken ankle, pelvis and multiple fractures on both legs.
For more information on the Highway Hero program, go to www.goodyear.com/truck/whatsnew/heroes.html.