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Goodyear names Highway Hero finalists

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AKRON (Feb. 12, 2014) — Goodyear has selected four finalists for its annual Highway Hero award, to be presented March 27 during the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky.

The Goodyear Highway Hero Award recognizes truck drivers who put their lives on the line to help others, said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems.

“Each of our Highway Hero finalists took action without concern for his own safety in order to save another person from a life-threatening situation.”

Trucking industry journalists evaluate the finalists, Goodyear said. The driver who is named the 31st Goodyear Highway Hero will receive a special ring, a $5,000 award and a congratulatory plaque. Each of the other finalists will receive a cash prize and a plaque.

The finalists for the 31st Goodyear Highway Hero Award are:

  • Brian Dunn, a driver from Knoxville, Tenn., who was driving in Oklahoma when he witnessed a car crash through a guard rail and land on its roof in the middle of the road. He ran to the car as its engine caught fire.

While running back to his truck to grab a fire extinguisher, Goodyear said Mr. Dunn saw a two-year-old boy trapped in the back seat of the burning vehicle. He braved the flames and yanked on the car’s door until it gave way, allowing him to rescue the child, whom he then handed to bystanders. Mr. Dunn then ran back to his truck for his fire extinguisher, while other bystanders tried to rescue the boy’s mother, who was driving the car. They later learned that she had died as a result of the crash.

  • Tim Horton, a driver from Sheridan, Ark. Mr. Horton was driving outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., when a small car passed his truck, spun around and slid into a 35-foot-deep ravine, landing upside down in a creek bed. Goodyear said the car’s driver, a teenager, was trapped inside and had suffered a large cut on his head.

Mr. Horton got out of his truck and flagged down the driver of another vehicle who happened to be a volunteer firefighter, to assist him. Mr. Horton and the firefighter made their way down the steep, brush-covered embankment and found the teenager alive, but bleeding heavily.

Mr. Horton cut the teenager’s seatbelt, Goodyear said, and pulled him from the car. After he and the firefighter stabilized the teen’s condition, Mr. Horton called for additional help. It took 10 men using a 50-foot fire ladder to transport the teenager to a waiting ambulance.

  • Scott Rosenberg, a driver from Isanti, Minn., who had just dropped off a load in Stillwater, Minn., when he spotted a pickup truck that was upside down in a pond, with steam rising from it. Acting quickly, he positioned his boom crane in place, Goodyear said, hoping to flip the pickup truck over and back onto its wheels.

In the meantime, two other men had reached the pickup and were trying to pry its doors open, to no avail. Using his crane, Mr. Rosenberg turned the pickup right-side up. Its driver, a college student who had fallen asleep at the wheel, was still alive. Police then arrived and pulled the student from the vehicle.

  • Ivan Vasovic, a driver from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who was at a stop sign when he witnessed a double tanker truck hit the concrete divider of a freeway overpass, careen off a wall and slam into a guard rail. Its tanks, which were full of diesel fuel, according to Goodyear, ripped open and the truck came to a stop with its tractor and first tanker hanging over the side of the overpass.

The truck’s driver was trapped inside and was trying to exit when the diesel ignited. The driver, now on fire, kicked out a window, slid down the truck and fell 20 feet to the ground, breaking his arm and leg. By that point, the suspended truck was engulfed in flames.

Mr. Vasovic and another bystander tried to pull the driver to safety. However, due to the intense heat, they could only drag him a few yards at a time. Mr. Vasovic ran to his truck and poured water on himself, Goodyear said, which enabled him to drag the driver 20 yards away from his original position. Moments later, the entire burning tanker truck crashed to the ground.

 “Each Highway Hero Award finalist is a true credit to the trucking industry,” Mr. Medalis said. “We are honored that these individuals are part of our Highway Hero program, and we look forward to recognizing them for their bravery during MATS.”

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