LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 1, 2016) — Goodyear has named a New York truck driver who pulled an injured motorist from a burning car its Highway Hero for 2016.
Julian Kaczor of Utica, N.Y., was driving through Jacksonville, Fla., when a car drove past him at a high rate of speed, nearly clipping his truck, according to Goodyear's account of the accident. The car crashed into a construction barrier and began to emit smoke.
Mr. Kaczor, a driver for Leonard's Express of Farmington, N.Y., ran to the car as it became engulfed in flames, which he tried to extinguish. As the fire intensified, he forced the car's driver-side door open, pulled the injured motorist out of the vehicle and dragged him to safety.
“Julian acted instantly to help another person who was in need, without regard for his own well-being,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear, speaking at a ceremony at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. “His decision to get involved exemplifies the courage and decisiveness of professional truck drivers.”
As the 33rd Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Mr. Kaczor receives a special Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 prize and other items.
He was one of three finalists for the award, who are selected by an independent panel of trucking industry judges.
The other finalists were:
Mark Cavanagh, a driver from Hillsville, Va., who rescued a fellow truck driver from his crashed rig in Pennsylvania. Mr. Cavanagh witnesseed another tractor-trailer drive off the road and roll down a hill.
The truck's driver was thrown from the rig and was hanging from its mirror bracket by a belt. Mr. Cavanagh stopped his truck, descended down the hill, cut the injured driver's belt, and pulled him away from the damaged truck. He then stayed with the driver until help arrived.
Dorian Cole, a driver from Los Angeles, who was driving through the Sylmar section of LA when he saw a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer collide with another motorcyclist and careen into a concrete divider. To protect the injured officer from oncoming traffic, Mr. Cole positioned his tanker truck across several highway lanes. This also gave paramedics unimpeded access to the officer.
“Goodyear is proud to be the company that honors truck drivers for their heroism,” Mr. Medalis said. “Each of our Highway Hero Award finalists is a hero in his own right and is truly worthy of recognition.”