AKRON (March 7, 2003) — Four professional truck drivers have been selected as finalists for the 2002 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, the trucking industry's recognition for heroism on the road.
The drivers will be introduced March 21 during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., where a winner will be named.
The finalists include:
* Anthony Gouverneur, Evansville, Ind. — While driving March 28, 2002, on Highway 95 near Vidal Junction, Calif., Mr. Gouverneur encountered a two-vehicle crash, with both cars on fire and the victims inside. He managed to get into one of the vehicles and save a woman. Though he tried to return to the car to rescue the other victims, sustaining burns on his face and right arm, the two other motorists died in the cars. The San Bernardino County Fire Department commended Mr. Gouverneur, a driver for Swift Transportation Co. in Phoenix, for his actions.
* Charles Ingram, Jackson, Ga. — Mr. Ingram, who drives for FedEx, also came upon an accident scene with a car on fire outside of Atlanta on Oct. 28, 2002. Other bystanders already on the scene were afraid to approach the car and its two occupants because of the fire and a possibility the car could explode. Mr. Ingram later realized the unconscious driver's foot was still on the gas pedal. Mr. Ingram broke out the rear passenger window with a hammer and pulled the passenger out, then returned and pulled the driver out through the front driver's window. He immediately began first-aid treatment on the driver, recalling his instruction in the military.
* Ron Lantz, Ludlow, Ky. — The fall 2002 panic in the Washington D.C., area during the random sniper shootings ended in the early morning of Oct. 24, when Mr. Lantz saw the sniper suspects' Chevrolet Caprice with New Jersey plates as described on the “Truckin' Bozo” radio show. In the rest stop along I-70 in Maryland, Mr. Lantz called 911, then maneuvered his rig to block the exit ramp while waiting for police and FBI to arrive. A week earlier, he had organized an impromptu prayer among truck drivers for the end of the sniper shootings over his CB radio. Recently retired, Mr. Lantz was a driver for Thompson Trucking in Indianapolis. The two men Mr. Lantz found sleeping in the rest stop have since been accused of shooting 19 people, killing 13 and wounding six in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.
* Sebastian Lisitano, Winter Park, Fla. — Mr. Lisitano was traveling on I-95 in Virginia on his way to Florida on Feb. 20, 2002, when he saw a small car change lanes and collide with a pickup truck. The truck skidded and overturned, eventually catching fire. As other cars tried to avoid the wreckage, Mr. Lisitano pulled his rig to the side of the road and lifted the pickup as another motorist helped the driver slide out. The driver sustained severe burns over much of his body, and Virginia police said he was “within seconds of losing his life.” Mr. Lisitano, a FedEx driver, received a certificate of appreciation from the Virginia State Police and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal.
The four finalists were drawn from nominations in the U.S. and Canada, Goodyear said. A panel of judges from the trucking and tire trade media will select the final winner.
To nominate a driver for the 2003 award, click on www.highwayhero.net.