Goodyear has announced the four finalists for its annual Highway Hero award to be presented during the Mid-America Trucking Show in March. Talk about an impressive group.
Professional truckers Brian Dunn of Knoxville, Tenn., Tim Horton of Sheridan, Ark., Scott Rosenberg of Isanti, Mich., and Ivan Vasovic of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., are the four finalists. And they are all deserving of recognition.
“The Goodyear Highway Hero Award recognizes truck drivers who put their lives on the line to help others,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems.
“Each of our Highway Hero finalists took action without concern for his own safety in order to save another person from a life-threatening situation.”
A group of trucking journalists will decide the 31st annual award. The Highway Hero will receive $5,000, a special ring and a plaque while each of the finalists receives a cash prize.
The award ceremony will be Thursday, March 27, during the Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
Narratives provided by Goodyear put an exclamation point on the heroic acts of these truckers, who represent a vast number of nominees and Good Samaritans on the highways.
Brian Dunn was driving down a highway in Oklahoma when he witnessed a car crash through a guard rail and land on its roof in the middle of the road. He ran to the car as its engine caught fire. Running back to his truck to grab a fire extinguisher, he heard a child crying. Dunn spotted a 2-year-old boy who was trapped in the back seat of the burning vehicle. Braving the flames, Dunn yanked on the car’s door until it gave way, allowing him to rescue the child, whom he then handed to bystanders. Dunn ran back to his truck for his fire extinguisher, while other bystanders tried to rescue the boy’s mother, who had driven the car. They later learned that she had died as a result of the crash.
Tim Horton was driving outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., when a small car passed his truck, spun around, and drove into a 35-foot-deep ravine, landing upside down in a creek bed. The car’s driver, a teenager, was trapped inside the car and had suffered a large cut on his head. Horton got out of his truck and flagged down the driver of another vehicle, who happened to be a volunteer firefighter, to assist him. Horton and the firefighter made their way down the steep, brush-covered embankment and found the teenager alive, but bleeding heavily. Horton cut the teenager’s seat belt and pulled him from the car. After Horton and the firefighter stabilized the teenager’s condition, Horton called for additional help. It took 10 men using a 50-foot fire ladder to transport the teenager to a waiting ambulance.
Scott Rosenberg had just dropped off a load in Stillwater, Minn., when he spotted a pickup truck that was upside down in a pond, with steam rising from it. At the time, Rosenberg was driving a trailer with a boom crane used for loading heavy concrete products. Acting quickly, he positioned his crane in place, hoping to flip the pickup truck over and back onto its wheels. In the meantime, two other men had reached the pickup and were trying to pry its doors open, to no avail. Using his crane, Rosenberg turned the pickup right-side up. Its driver, a college student who had fallen asleep at the wheel, was still alive. Police then arrived and pulled the student from the vehicle.
Ivan Vasovic was at a stop sign when he witnessed a double tanker truck hit the concrete divider of a freeway overpass, careen off a wall, and slam into a guard rail. Its tanks, which were full of diesel, ripped open and the truck came to a stop with its tractor and first tanker hanging over the side of the overpass. The truck’s driver was trapped inside and was trying to exit when the diesel ignited. The driver, now on fire, kicked out a window, slid down the truck and fell 20 feet to the ground, breaking his arm and leg. By that point, the suspended truck was engulfed in flames. Vasovic and another bystander tried to pull the driver to safety. However, due to the intense heat, they could only drag him a few yards at a time. Vasovic ran to his truck and poured water on himself, which enabled him to drag the driver 20 yards away from his original position. Moments later, the entire burning tanker truck crashed to the ground.
Rosenberg is an OOIDA senior member, and Vasovic is an OOIDA member.
“Each Highway Hero Award finalist is a true credit to the trucking industry,” Goodyear’s Medalis said.
“We are honored that these individuals are part of our Highway Hero program, and we look forward to recognizing them for their bravery during MATS.”
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