A trucker who rescued an unconscious motorist from a minivan that had flipped over; a trucker who pulled a mother and her three children from a car that was upside-down in a creek bed; and a trucker who stopped an out-of-control dump truck and administered first aid to its incapacitated driver are the finalists for the 34th annual Goodyear Highway Hero Award.
The winner will be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., next month. Established in 1983 by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the award honors professional truckers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.
The three finalists are:
Chris Baker, Chicopee, Mass. Baker was driving down a New Jersey highway when he spotted flickering lights ahead. Pulling closer to investigate, he found a minivan that had flipped over onto its side. Flames erupted from the vehicle’s engine. Grabbing his fire extinguisher, he ran to the van and put out the fire. By then, the van’s passenger had escaped and crawled to safety, but its unconscious driver remained inside, hanging from a seat belt. Working with a bystander, Baker unfastened the driver’s seat belt, grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him away from the van. Baker stayed by his side until rescue crews arrived. The man survived and did not suffer any significant injuries.
Tim Freiburger, Huntington, Ind. Freiburger was driving through Indiana when he saw a car lose control and drive into a creek, where it flipped and came to a stop, upside-down in standing water. Freiburger raced to the car, which contained a mother and her three children. He broke a window and pulled the children out of the car. After carrying them to the creek’s bank, he returned to the car, ripped open its door, and rescued the mother. He stayed with the family until paramedics arrived. The family suffered only minor bruises as a result of the accident.
David Webb, Billings, Mont. Webb and his wife, Carol, were driving through Washington State when they observed a dump truck in the next lane swerve. Webb pulled up to the dump truck and noticed that its driver was 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 driver, who was not breathing, out of the truck. Webb was performing CPR on him when help arrived. The driver was hospitalized and survived.
The winner is selected by a pool of trucking industry journalists and will receive a special ring, a cash award and a congratulatory trophy. Each of the other finalists will receive a cash prize and other items.