AKRON, Ohio — Goodyear has named four finalists for its Highway Hero Award, with the winner to be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show.
This year’s finalists all hail from the US. George Lantzy of Turtle Creek, Pa. was driving down Route 22 outside Weirton, W.V. on March 12, 2009 when he saw a car driving along the shoulder and slowly drifting into traffic. He noticed the elderly driver was slumped over the wheel and maneuvered his rig alongside the car, then drove in front to allow the car to contact the rear of his trailer.
Lantzy then guided the motorist’s car out of danger and brought it to a standstill. The driver had suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital where she recovered.
Stephen Page of Gloucester, Mass. was driving down I-80 near Clearfield, Pa. when he spotted a fire in the woods alongside the road. He and another driver stopped and discovered the wreckage of a double-unit rig that had plunged 1,500 feet off the highway. After discovering the driver was still alive, Page and another driver struggled to free the victim before the rig was completely destroyed by fire. The driver he rescued is still recovering from his injuries, but is alive thanks to Page and other drivers who stopped to help.
Jesse Lee Seal of Alma, Ark. was driving southbound on I-530 near Little Rock when he saw a truck ahead of him swerve left, cross the median then come to rest on an opposite embankment. The truck lost a fuel tank, which caught fire. Seal pulled over, grabbed his fire extinguisher, ran across the highway extinguishing the flaming fuel tank on the way, and then came to the aid of the driver. He was able to cut the driver free of the flaming rig and tend to his injuries.
And Junichi Shimizu of Gladstone, Ore. drove westbound on Hwy. 12 near Fairfield, Cal. Feb 20, 2009 when he witnessed a vehicle cross the centerline of the road and strike another vehicle right in front of his truck. Shimizu stopped to help the drivers involved in the wreck and tended to one vehicle that was in flames.
He told the driver to protect his face and then punched out the glass in order to rescue him. Shimizu then ran to the other vehicle and noticed the driver was deceased. However, there were two injured passengers inside, and Shimizu was able to control the blaze until the fire department arrived and helped free them from the wreckage.
The winner of the award will receive the honour of being named the Goodyear North America Highway Hero and will receive a US$10,000 US savings bond, a plaque and a specially-designed ring. The other finalists will receive a US$5,000 savings bond and plaque.
“These four individuals represent the thousands of professional truck drivers who work every day across North America. Each year, this program offers an opportunity for recognition of those who put their lives on the line to help others,” said Joseph Copeland, vice-president for commercial tires systems with Goodyear.
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