One of three truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others will be honored with the Goodyear Highway Hero Award later this month.
Darrell Atkins, from Alvaredo, Texas; Don Frederick, from Kimbolton, Ohio; and Paul Mathias, from Phoenix are finalists for the annual award, which will be announced at a ceremony on March 28 in Louisville, Ky., during the Mid-America Trucking Show.
“Since it was established in 1983, the Goodyear Highway Hero Award has recognized truck drivers who demonstrate extraordinary bravery and selflessness,” Gary Medalis, Goodyear marketing director, said in a news release. “We look forward to honoring this year’s Highway Hero Award finalists, each of whom took decisive action to save lives.”
Atkins was driving on an Arizona interstate when he witnessed a vehicle containing an elderly couple get struck from behind, flip over and come to a stop on a grassy median. Atkins worked with a bystander to extract the driver, who was hanging upside down by her seatbelt. Even as gasoline began to leak, Atkins continued to remove her husband and the couple’s three dogs from the car and remained with them until emergency crews arrived.
Frederick was driving along a state highway in Ohio when he witnessed a coal truck flip onto its side while making a turn. He removed the damaged truck’s back window, reached into the vehicle and applied direct pressure to the wounded driver, who was bleeding heavily and trapped by the truck’s steering wheel. As the truck began to emit smoke, Frederick freed the driver’s legs and worked with a bystander to help the driver exit the truck. He continued to render first aid until the emergency crews arrived.
Mathias had just stopped his truck at a red light in Phoenix when he saw a vehicle slam into an SUV that contained a mother and her two children. He instructed the mother to perform CPR on her son and comforted the daughter as she passed away from her injuries. Mathias then returned to the boy and proceeded to administer CPR to him until emergency crews arrived and took over. The boy survived.
The winner will receive a cash reward and ring. The winner will be determined by a panel of trucking journalists. Each finalist will receive a trophy.
Frank Vieira won the 2018 award for helping save a person’s life after a crash in Toronto.
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