Alabama trucker named Goodyear Highway Hero

| Friday, March 24, 2006

Douglas Crawford, of Ashford, AL, was announced the winner of the 23rd annual Goodyear Highway Hero award at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, this week.

The other three finalists for the award were:

  • Danny Wallen, an OOIDA member from Conover, OH, who drives for ABF Freight Systems Inc.;
  • Michael Knott, of Casselberry, FL , a driver for FedEx Ground; and
  • Sen. Robert A. Starr, of North Troy, VT, a driver and owner of Starr's Transportation.

Founded by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America.

As finalists for this year's award, three truckers battled flames to pull victims to safety in separate accidents, and another driver saved a mother and her baby from oncoming traffic on the Florida Turnpike.

“We are indebted to truck drivers across the United States and Canada who keep America rolling,” said Steve McClellan, vice president for commercial tire systems for Goodyear. “Many truck drivers have become the eyes and ears of our highways, and they were busier than ever this year. With a devastating hurricane season and thousands of accidents, they responded heroically by delivering essential supplies to the Gulf Coast and risking their lives to save others.”

“There's no doubt that citizens of the United States and Canada are better off because of their actions.”

The winner, Crawford, received a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a specially designed ring.

Crawford saved the life of another truck driver after seeing two trucks collide on Interstate 85 near Newnan, GA, on Aug. 25, 2005. Crawford watched a northbound truck cross the grass median and into the southbound lanes where it collided with another truck.

Both trucks exploded into flames. Crawford avoided an out-of-control car and parked his truck on the shoulder of the northbound lanes. He ran across the median and found the northbound truck's wreckage in flames. The separated cab had disintegrated.

The other truck, also engulfed in flames, rested in the ditch. Crawford used a fire extinguisher to battle the fire and yelled for the driver, who was injured but able to respond.

Noticing that the rear wall of the tractor's sleeper unit was destroyed, Crawford was able to walk into the tractor. The injured driver, covered in diesel fuel, could not move, so Crawford told the man to grab him around his neck and he pulled him from the burning cab by his shoulders.

Crawford found a safe area in the ditch, and moments later, the tractor exploded into flames.

Crawford, with the assistance of a nurse who had stopped at the accident, gave first aid to the injured driver until paramedics arrived. A medical helicopter flew the injured driver to the hospital.

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