LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The winner of Goodyear’s 29th North America Highway Hero award literally put himself in the line of fire, rescuing a woman from a gun-wielding attacker.
Chosen from among four finalists, Mike Schiotis of Spring Hill, Tenn., was presented with the 2011 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. March 23.
Schiotis, who works for Seville, Ohio-based Panther Expedited Services, was driving to his destination in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1, when he saw a woman walking with a man close behind her. Thinking they were injured, he slowed down and noticed that the man was pointing a gun at the woman. Schiotis stopped his truck and the woman began pounding on his door, screaming “Help me! He’s going to kill me!” Schiotis jumped out of his truck and positioned himself between the woman, who was bleeding from the head, and her assailant. He helped the woman into his rig and decided to take her to the next truck stop.
The gun-carrying man got back in his car and began to follow Schiotis’ truck. Schiotis pulled into a truck stop, but decided it was safer to continue down the highway. Meanwhile, he notified the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, then used his CB radio to tell other truckers in the area about what was transpiring. Another truck driver, who was behind Schiotis’ 18-wheeler, heard him and took action. Together, they drove side-by-side, weaving back and forth to prevent the gunman from closing in on Schiotis’ tractor. This gave troopers time to catch up with the man and apprehend him.
“We are grateful to Mike Schiotis for his quick thinking and brave actions,” said Phillip Kane, vice-president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “He literally put himself ‘in the line of fire,’ and in all probability, prevented a tragedy from taking place. Mike’s decision to interject himself into this dangerous situation is a powerful example of the selflessness and professionalism exhibited by many of today’s professional truck drivers. Because of his action, a life was saved. For this, Mike Schiotis has earned the right to be called a hero.”
Schiotis and three other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 2011 North America Highway Hero Award. Other finalists included: John Crozman of Black Hawk, S.D., a driver for Long Haul Trucking in Albertville, Minn.; Melville Farnell of Shelburne, Ont., a driver for Tupling Farms Produce, also based in Shelburne; and John Neumeier of Russia, Ohio, a driver for Bohman Trucking, also based in Russia.
“Each of these finalists is a Highway Hero in his own right,” said Kane. “Each man rescued someone who was in life-threatening peril. We are honoured to recognize these selfless gentlemen for their acts of courage and compassion.”
To nominate a driver for the 2012 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, click here.
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