Highway hero finalists announced at MATS

| Thursday, March 20, 2003

Four professional truckdrivers who risked their lives to help others have been selected as finalists for the 2002 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, the trucking industry's most prestigious award for heroism.

On March 21, the drivers will be introduced to the trucking industry at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, and one of the drivers will be named the 2002 Goodyear North America Highway Hero.

The finalists are:

  • Anthony Gouverneur, Evansville, IN. Traveling on U.S. 95 near Vidal Junction, CA, on the evening of March 28, 2002, Gouverneur came upon the scene of a two-vehicle collision. Both vehicles were in flames, and all victims were trapped inside. Despite the intense heat and flames, Gouverneur went into one of the vehicles, and he managed to save the life of one woman by pulling her to safety. Gouverneur received medical assistance on the scene for burns to his face and right arm following attempts to return to the vehicles for additional recovery. The two other motorists perished inside the burning vehicles. Gouverneur was commended for his actions by the San Bernardino County Fire Department. He is a driver for Swift Transportation Co., based in Phoenix, AZ
  • Charles Ingram, Jackson, GA. On Oct. 28, 2002, while driving outside of Atlanta, Ingram came upon an accident scene with a car on fire. Stopping his truck to help, he saw that no other bystanders would approach the vehicle because of the fire and a fear the car could explode. Ingram realized that two passengers were trapped in the burning vehicle, and the unconscious driver's foot remained on the gas pedal, making the situation even more perilous. Using a hammer, Ingram broke out the rear passenger window and pulled the passenger out of the car. Returning to the car, he broke out the front driver's side window and struggled to pull the unconscious driver from the burning wreckage. He put the driver onto a grassy area and began first-aid treatment as he had been instructed in the military. Ingram stayed with the driver until Gwinnett County Fire Rescue units arrived. Ingram drives for FedEx.
  • Ron Lantz, Ludlow, KY. The Washington, DC, area sniper shootings in the fall of 2002 had many area residents in a panic and thousands of local police officials working around the clock in efforts to track down the suspects. In the early morning of Oct. 24, 2002, Lantz was able to end the suspense for everyone and put millions of Americans back into their normal routines. As Lantz pulled his rig into a rest stop along I-70 in Maryland, he recognized a blue Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey license plates and two men who might be sniper suspects. Recalling the description he had heard just hours earlier on the "Truckin' Bozo" radio show, Lantz called 9-1-1 to make the report. He then maneuvered his 18-wheeler to block the exit ramp and waited for police to arrive. Soon, a multitude of police and FBI vehicles descended upon the rest stop, and the two suspects were arrested. Just a week earlier, Lantz had used his CB radio to organize an impromptu gathering of truckdrivers to pray for an end to the sniper crisis. Recently retired, Lantz was a driver for Thompson Trucking in Indianapolis.
  • Sebastian Lisitano, Winter Park, FL. On Feb. 20, 2002, Lisitano was traveling on I-95 in Virginia when the driver of a small car changed lanes and collided with a pickup truck, sending the pickup skidding and overturning, eventually catching fire. As other vehicles spun, trying to avoid the crash, Lisitano was able to pull his truck to the side of the road. He and another motorist ran to the burning pickup to offer assistance. The other motorist helped the driver slide out as Lisitano lifted the vehicle. The driver of the pickup had severe burns over much of his body, and was "definitely within seconds of losing his life," according to a Virginia State Police spokesman. Lisitano received a certificate of appreciation from the Virginia State Police and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. A FedEx driver, Lisitano was driving to Florida when the accident occurred.

The finalists were culled from nominees throughout the United States and Canada. A panel of judges, consisting of members of the trucking and tire trade media, will select the 2002 Goodyear North America Highway Hero. To nominate a professional truckdriver for the 2003 Goodyear Highway Hero Award, visit www.highwayhero.net.

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