LOUISVILLE. For helping save the lives of two persons in a car caught on railroad tracks, including pulling the unconscious driver out moments before the car was struck by a train, truck driver Tilden Curl was named the Goodyear North America Highway Hero for 2010 here last week during the Mid-America Trucking Show.

A native of Olympia, WA, Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare, CA, last October when a vehicle crashed and became lodged on the railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl stopped his truck to check on the car after noticing an approaching train.

An elderly woman exited the passenger side and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. He then saw the driver was unconscious and trapped inside. Curl was able to squeeze his arm inside the door and unlock it. Then, working quickly, he unfastened the man’s seatbelt and dragged him out and away just seconds before the train collided with the car.

“We are grateful to Tilden Curl for his quick thinking and brave actions, which ultimately led two strangers to safety,” said Joseph Copeland, Goodyear vp of commercial tire systems.

“This is a clear example of the selflessness and professionalism of many of today’s professional truck drivers, who are out on our highways every day to deliver the goods and services upon which we all depend,” Copeland added.

Chosen from among four finalists, Curl accepted a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond for his actions.

Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the North American Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they render as they go about their jobs driving truck across North America.