Canadian truck hero honored by tiremaker

| 12/17/2004

A trucker who rescued an accident victim who was in danger of drowning when her vehicle flipped into a deep, water-filled ditch is being honored as the 2004 Bridgestone/Firestone Canadian Truck Hero.

Trucker Phil Tarrant of Abbotsford, British Columbia, made the daring and dramatic rescue in April 2004 along Highway 7 near Mission, British Columbia. His actions have earned him the hero award, which Bridgestone/Firestone gives annually to Canadian trucker who demonstrates courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face of emergency. He accepted the award at a recent convention of the Ontario Trucking Association.

Tarrant, an 10-year employee of Vedder Transport Ltd. in Abbotsford, was driving along Highway 7 between Maple Ridge and Mission on April 26 when a car in front of him lost control, struck a utility pole and flipped upside down, eventually landing in a water-filled ditch, with the car’s lone occupant trapped inside.

Realizing that the occupant was in danger of drowning, Tarrant drove his truck as close as possible to the partially submerged car and, with the help of a motorist who was also at the accident scene, hooked the crane’s line to the car. He guided the crane over the live power lines and lifted the car about 4 feet out of the water, so that the occupant could breathe.

Using the crane, Tarrant held the vehicle in this position for about 20 minutes until emergency personnel arrived and extricated the woman. Once the car occupant was safe, Tarrant maneuvered the crane to lift the vehicle over the power lines and set it down on the roadside.

“Phil Tarrant exhibited extraordinary poise and professionalism in a crisis situation,” said Jim West, district manager for commercial products in eastern Canada for Bridgestone/Firestone. “His courage and determination in carrying out a rescue mission fraught with danger can only be described as an act of true heroism. His conduct in the face of such adversity exemplifies what the Bridgestone/Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award is all about.”

Along with a trophy, Tarrant received a $5,000 check from Bridgestone/Firestone Canada. He joins 48 professional Canadian transport truck drivers who have won the award, which Bridgestone/Firestone Canada has presented since 1956. The award winner is selected from among nominations submitted by Canadian trucking companies, which are required to include a police statement corroborating the nominated driver’s actions.