Trucker hero receives prestigious Carnegie Medal

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 4/18/2013

Mike Schiotis says that every day is a bonus since Nov. 1, 2011, when he put himself in harm’s way to save a woman from her gun-wielding ex-boyfriend.

Photo courtesy of Goodyear

Mike Schiotis, the 2012 Goodyear Highway Hero, pictured here with Mark Pillow, director of business solutions for Goodyear, received the Carnegie Medal for heroism on April 18.

On Thursday, April 18, Schiotis, an OOIDA member from Spring Hill, TN, was one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie Medal awarded for “extraordinary acts of heroism.”

“It’s quite an honor to receive this award,” Schiotis told Land Line the day the winners were announced. “My dad would have loved it. He was a big industrial guy, and it would have been quite moving for him to see something with our name associated with something with Andrew Carnegie’s name on it.”

Schiotis said he and Anna Trently, the woman he rescued that night are both lucky to be alive. He said he originally slowed down when he passed two vehicles while traveling northbound on Interstate 380 because he thought there had been an accident. But after he heard Trently’s screams for help, he pulled over and jumped out of his truck. 

He said Trently’s ex-boyfriend, Elvino Cagnardi, of East Orange, NJ, had a gun, which had not been cleaned in a long time and jammed when he tried to fire it at Schiotis and Trently, who were attempting to escape in Schiotis’ rig. Cagnardi allegedly had been firing at Trently’s car for “nearly 20 miles.”

Schiotis and Trently were able to flee in his truck, but were chased by Cagnardi, who had followed them in his car. He and another trucker created a rolling roadblock until Pennsylvania State Troopers were able to apprehend him.

“A little bit of dirt is why I am still here and why Anna is still here as well,” Schiotis told “Land Line Now” on Thursday.

“When times are tough, I just figure back to that day, and every day is a bonus after that,” he said.

Schiotis is scheduled to testify at Cagnardi’s trial later this month. He said the district attorney handling the case told him recently that the gun used in the incident was old and hadn’t been cleaned in a while, which kept the cylinder from rotating properly.
Schiotis was also named the Goodyear Highway Hero in 2012 and was recognized by the Pennsylvania State Police in 2012 with an “Outstanding Citizen Award” for risking his life to save Trently, who was hospitalized after the attack.

See related story: Trucker rescues woman from gun-wielding suspect

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