Trucker’s son helps stop runaway truck

| 8/10/2007

A trucker’s nine-year-old son, a trucker on CB and a Good Samaritan are being credited with bringing a tractor-trailer to a halt after the trucker blacked out for unknown reasons at the wheel.

It happened on Tuesday, Aug. 6, on U.S. Highway 30 in the town of St. Helens, OR, in the afternoon.

Trucker Matthew Lovo Sr. told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio he was doing about 25 mph through town – with his son Matt riding along in the passenger seat.

“I had just got off the phone with my wife, and that’s actually the last thing I remember,” Matthew Sr. said. “The next I remember, I was sitting on the side of the road on the asphalt, and the paramedics and police officers were talking with me. And that’s when they told me what (my son) did.”

His son, Matthew Jr., said at first, he thought his dad was joking around – then realized he wasn’t. So, he tried steering and got on the CB radio and called out for help. A trucker responded, telling him to turn the key off. He slowly guided the truck to the side of the road. Immediately, a man walking by was able to jump in the cab and help.

That man who jumped in was Chris Howard, a Good Samaritan who saw the rig veering dangerously into the oncoming lane and ran to catch up with it.

“I jumped up on the step of the truck and opened the door and pulled myself up toward the compartment,” Howard said. “I actually got a little bit confused looking at the dash – there were quite a few knobs and buttons on there, and I’m not used to that. I realized that there were regular pedals on the floor, though, so I just stepped on the brake.”

The St. Helens police chief has publicly praised the boy for his “bravery and cool demeanor” and Chris Howard for “a heroic act.”

Matt’s dad has a few words of praise for his son, too.

“You’re not going to get a more proud father in America today,” Matthew Sr. said.

– By Reed Black, staff writer