Heroic drivers honored by Goodyear

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 26) ­ A truck driver who risked his own life trying to save another from a burning wreck has won the title of 1998 Goodyear North America Highway Hero, chosen by a group of trucking industry editors.

Two Canadian drivers were finalists for the award, which was presented at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. It is the first time Canadians participated in the Goodyear program, which honors professional truck drivers for heroic actions on the highway.

Wayne Carpenter, a 13-year trucking professional who drives for Cheshire Oil Co. in New Hampshire, was recognized for efforts to rescue the unconscious driver of a passenger car after it struck a truck and began furiously burning last August in Durham, N.H.

Carpenter was headed for his terminal to pick up a load when he saw the head-on collision of a car and truck, causing both vehicles to explode in flames. Carpenter emptied his fire extinguisher on the blaze in a futile attempt to control the escalating fire. With no regard for risk to himself, Carpenter lunged into the flames and pulled the unconscious and critically injured driver out of the car.

Canadians Michael Asselin and Mark Savarie, both professional drivers operating for ETI Transport, Ltd., were nominated as finalists for their work to help the injured driver of a truck carrying explosives that had struck a rock and caught fire. The truck eventually blew up.

Carpenter, Asselin, Savarie, and two other finalists were selected from a field of 12 regional Goodyear Highway Heroes representing 11 states and provinces. The regional Heroes were selected by an independent agency from 23 state winners.

Each year, the North America Highway Hero receives a $20,000 United States savings bond, and a gold and diamond ring specially made to commemorate the honor. Each of the other finalists will receive or share a $5000 bond, an all-expenses paid trip to the Mid-America Truck Show, and a visit to Nashville. Highway Heroes may be nominated by anyone by calling 1-800-627-2118 for details and eligibility criteria.

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