LOUISVILLE, Kentucky—Battling fierce flames, climbing down steep precipices and plucking sinking vehicles out of the water were tasks that were all in a day’s work for the four drivers who were nominated as 2014 Goodyear Highway Heroes.
“I’m here to honour four very special guests,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems during a ceremony held during the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Kentucky.
“The Goodyear Highway Heroes Award was established 1983 to honour truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way. These drivers took action without concern for their own safety in order to save other people’s lives. Today, we honour four individuals who deserve all the attention and all the recognition. Their selfless acts of courage are truly inspiring and Goodyear is proud to be the company that recognizes them today.”
The drivers who had their actions recognized were Brian Dunn, from Knoxville, Tennessee, Tim Horton, from Sheridan, Arkansas, Scott Rosenberg, from Isanti, Minnesota and Ivan Vasovic of Rancho Cucamonga, California, who was named the winner of the 2014 award.
Vasovic earned his title after rescuing the driver of a double tanker from a fiery crash. The tanker hit a divider on a highway overpass, went out of control and came to a rest, partially hanging over the side of the overpass. During the accident, the tanks ripped open spilling diesel fuel, which then ignited, setting fire to the driver. Vasovic and another bystander tried to rescue the driver but were overwhelmed by the heat. The Highway Hero then ran to his truck, doused himself with water, and returned to drag the injured driver away from the crash site, just moments before the truck plummeted to the ground.
As part of his reward, Vasovic was presented with $5,000 and a Highway Heroes ring. The other finalists were given $2,500 each as a reward for their bravery.
Like Vasovic, Brian Dunn’s rescue efforts also involved fire. He saw a car crash through a guard rail, flip over on its roof, leading the engine to burst into flames. His initial reaction was to run to his truck for his fire extinguisher, but he realized he didn’t have time for that when he heard a child crying. Dunn ran to the car, got a stuck back-door-opened and rescued a two-year-old boy. Then he ran back to the truck for the fire extinguisher so the driver, the boy’s mother could be rescued. Sadly, she died as a result of the crash.
Scott Rosenberg’s rescue involved the opposite element of fire: water. He came across a pick-up truck upside down in a pond after its driver, a college student fell asleep at the wheel. Rosenberg was driving a trailer with a boom crane used for loading heavy concrete products. He used the crane to flip the truck over, allowing police to pull the driver from the cab.
Tim Horton watched a car pass his truck, go out of control, and then plunge 35-feet down an embankment, eventually landing upside down in a creek bed. Horton stopped another motorist, who happened to be a volunteer firefighter, and the two of them climbed down into the ravine. The teenage driver’s name was Tyler, and Horton his seatbelt and pulled him from the car. Then the pair worked to stabilize his condition before calling for additional help. It required 10 men and a 50-ft. fire ladder to bring the driver up the embankment. Horton was surprised during the ceremony when it was announced that Tyler’s parents had travelled to MATS and were in the audience so they could meet and thank the hero who rescued their son.