LOUISVILLE, Ky.A truck driver who rescued a family of six from a smashed minivan has been named Goodyear's 30th North America Highway Hero.
Jason Harte of Rogers, Ark., was chosen from four finalists as this year's award recipient, who was recognized by Goodyear during the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.
Mr. Harte, who works for Missoula, Mont.-based Sammons Trucking, was driving down an interstate last July when, Goodyear said, he saw a speeding pickup truck push a minivan off the road and slam into another car, pushing it to the highway median.
Mr. Harte dialed 911 and then helped a man, woman and baby out of the van, and then rescued the most accessible of three other children who were trapped inside, Goodyear said.
Mr. Harte, a former paramedic, worked with bystanders to open the van's back hatch and then performed first aid on the next child before pulling her out through the door. He pulled apart seats and cut seatbelts to rescue the remaining child, Goodyear said. Mr. Harte helped rescue crews tend to the victims' injurieswhich ranged from broken legs to internal bleedinguntil ambulances arrived.
Mr. Harte received a special Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 cash prize and other items.
Three other truck drivers selected by the Akron-based tire maker as Highway Hero finalists are:
c Christopher Burgess, an independent truck driver from Ravenna, Ohio. Mr. Burgess was driving a truck full of sand down a steep hill in Akron when its brakes failed. Fighting to keep the truck under control, Mr. Burgess waved his arms and honked the vehicle's horn while it sped downhill toward a busy intersection at an estimated 50 miles per hour. He maneuvered the truck between two buildings and steered toward bushes and trees at the rear of the property. The truck hit a tree and rolled into the river below. Mr. Burgess died in the accident.
c Chad Dickey of Wadena, Minn., who drives for Tony's Transfer. Mr. Dickey was driving near Chattanooga, Tenn., when he came across the wreckage of an 18-wheeler, including the exposed driver's seat to which Lewis Boyd, another truck driver, was still strapped. Mr. Boyd had suffered a massive gash in his leg and was passing in and out of consciousness due to rapid blood loss. Mr. Dickey applied a tourniquet to Mr. Boyd's leg for 30 minutes while keeping him alert until rescue personnel arrived.
c David Williams of Angier, N.C., who drives for Schneider National. Mr. Williams was driving on an interstate in Wilmington, N.C., when he spotted a disabled car that had spun around, facing oncoming traffic. Mr. Williams stopped his truck, placed safety cones around the car and began directing traffic away from it. Suddenly, Mr. Williams noticed a pickup truck approaching at high speed. He jumped out of the way to avoid being crushed by the pickup, which slammed into the back of his rig and burst into flames.
The pickup's driver escaped while Mr. Williams pulled the truck's passenger out of the burning vehicle. He then helped extinguish the flames that had engulfed the pickup.