A truck driver stops to rescue an unconscious motorist from a flipped-over minivan; another races to save a mother and her three children trapped in an upside-down car sinking in a creek bed; a third hops aboard an out-of-control dump truck to aid its incapacitated operator.
Established in 1983, the Goodyear Highway Hero Award honors professional truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others, noted Gary Medalis, marketing director at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., in a statement.
“We are proud to recognize truck drivers who risk their own lives to save others,” he said.
The three truck drivers in line for the award this year are:
- Chris Baker, a truck driver from Chicopee, MA: Driving down a New Jersey highway one evening, Baker spotted flickering lights ahead. Pulling closer to investigate, he found a minivan that had flipped over onto its side, with flames erupting from its engine. Grabbing a fire extinguisher, Baker ran to the van, put out the fire, and worked with a bystander to pull the unconscious driver to safety. Baker stayed with the injured minivan driver until rescue crews arrived. The man survived and did not suffer any significant injuries.
- Tim Freiburger, a truck driver from Huntington, IN: Driving through Indiana, Freiburger witnessed a car lose control and drive into a creek, where it flipped upside-down in standing water. Freiburger raced to the car, which contained a mother and her three children, broke a window and removed one of the vehicle’s doors to pull all four to safety. He stayed with the family until paramedics arrived. The family suffered only minor bruises as a result of the accident and Freiburger’s quick actions.
- David Webb, a truck driver from Billings, MT: Making a run through Washington State, Webb and his wife, Carol, observed a dump truck in the next lane violently swerve. Webb pulled up to the dump truck and noticed its driver slumped over the steering wheel. As the dump truck slowed, Webb parked his own truck and ran after the still-moving vehicle. Webb jumped onto the dump truck’s running board, opened the door, reached in and applied the brakes, bringing the truck to a complete stop. As Carol called 911, Webb worked with a bystander to pull the dump truck driver – who wasn’t breathing – from the vehicle. Webb performed CPR on him until help arrived. Though hospitalized, the dump truck driver survived.
Here are some highlights from last year's award ceremony: