Challenger’s McKnight named Truck Hero

Challenger Motor Freight driver Terry McKnight doesn’t consider himself to be a hero, but a new certificate for his wall would beg to differ.

He’s been recognized with the 2021 Ontario Trucking Association – Bridgestone Truck Hero Award.

McKnight was traveling I-75 near Cincinnati in October 2018 when a woman in a small passenger vehicle came down an onramp and darted in front of his truck before trying to squeeze between two other cars. She hit one of them, lost control, hit the median, then flipped onto her hood, sliding to the middle of the highway.

Challenger Motor Freight driver Terry McKnight
Challenger Motor Freight driver Terry McKnight (second from left) has been honored with this year’s Truck Hero Award. (Photo: John G. Smith)

“The first thought I had was that if somebody doesn’t do something she is going to get killed. I didn’t want to see her get hit because she almost got hit twice,” McKnight said.

He used his tractor-trailer to create a barrier across two lanes, and after seeing she was not seriously injured, he pulled open the door and freed her from the car.

“This award is a recognition of courageousness, selflessness and integrity in the face of an emergency. This year’s winner is the embodiment of modesty, but his actions as both a truck driver and as a caring human being are marvellous,” said Jim Devlin, national fleet account executive – Bridgestone Canada.

McKnight just wishes other drivers would have stopped to help. “The part I couldn’t understand was nobody stopped except for me. They would slow down and look, but they never stopped.”

“Not all heroes wear capes,” says Challenger CEO Dan Einwechter. “But, for the grace of God, you just don’t ever know what is going to happen next in life; and for that reason, I hope that if my family or my friends are ever in need, there is somebody there like Terry to help.”

McKnight has also helped victims of collisions on two other occasions, and even helped to guide people from a burning home.

“I’m not surprised that it was my dad who was the one to stop, whether it’s other situations or the house on fire … and it’s the same thing with this woman – he appreciates other people’s lives. Even if he doesn’t know them, he knows that it’s somebody’s mom, or sister, or daughter, and every life is important to him,” says McKnight’s daughter, Cassie.

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