LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Douglas Crawford, a driver for Saia Motor Freight Lines, was named the 23rd Goodyear North America Highway Hero at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky, after helping a fellow truck driver escape a fiery death during an accident in August.
Crawford, of Ashford, Ala., was traveling southbound on Interstate 85 when he watched a northbound truck cross the grass median and into the southbound lanes where it collided with another truck. Both trucks exploded into flames. Crawford used an extinguisher to battle the fire and yelled for the driver, who was injured but able to respond. Crawford told the man to grab him around his neck and he pulled him from the burning cab by his shoulders. Crawford found a safe area in the ditch, and moments later, the tractor exploded into flames.
The driver was 30-year veteran Herman Langford of Leesburg, Ga., who said Crawford deserved the award for helping him to cheat death.
“I’ve helped others, but they were nothing like my accident. That man saved my life,” Langford said.
Crawford said he still keeps in contact with Langford, who is recovering from multiple injuries.
Crawford accepted the award, a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a specially designed Goodyear Highway Hero ring on March 23.
“Too often, we only hear criticism about trucks and drivers, but that’s not our view of the trucking industry. We know that most drivers are hardworking, safe and courteous. And in the cases of Doug Crawford and the three other Highway Hero finalists, these drivers stopped to help others without regard for their own lives,” said Peter Christoffersen, general manager of marketing for Goodyear commercial tire systems. “In our eyes, they’re all heroes.”
Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America.
Crawford was selected along with three other truck drivers as finalists for the 2005 award.
Danny Wallen, a driver with ABF Freight System, saved a Tennessee couple on when their stalled car was struck by a sport-utility vehicle and caught fire. He and two others, however, were unable to save the couple’s 17-year-old daughter, who was trapped in the backseat of the burning car.
Robert A. Starr, a driver for Starr’s Transportation, saved a Quebec woman when a roadway culvert collapsed near Trois Rivieres Sept. 14. The women’s car and Starr’s truck caught fire as they hit the caving pavement.
Michael Knott, a driver for FedEx Ground, saved a woman and her baby daughter from oncoming traffic as they lay on the Florida Turnpike Oct. 13. The woman was carrying her baby after her car stalled, and she was struck by another car.
For more on Goodyear’s Highway Hero program and to nominate a truck driver for the 2006 award, visit www.goodyear.com/truck/whatsnew/heroes.html.
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