AKRON (Feb. 17, 2017) — Goodyear will announce the winner of its 34th annual Highway Hero Award on March 23, during the annual Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.
The Highway Hero Award was established in 1983 as way to recognize professional truck drivers who go out of their way to help others, even if it means putting themselves in harm's way.
Driver finalists for this year's award are:
- Chris Baker, from Chicopee, Mass., who rescued an unconscious motorist from a minivan that had flipped over;
- Tim Freiburger, from Huntington, Ind., who pulled a mother and her three children from a car that was upside-down in a creek bed; and
- David Webb, from Billings, Mont., who stopped an out-of-control dump truck and administered first aid to its incapacitated driver.
"The Goodyear Highway Hero Award is the oldest and most prestigious honor of its kind," Goodyear Marketing Director Gary Medalis said in a news release. "Goodyear is proud to recognize truck drivers who risk their own lives to save others."
Mr. Baker was driving down a New Jersey highway when he noticed flickering lights ahead. As he approached the minivan, he noticed it had flipped on one side and flames were shooting from the engine.
With his fire extinguisher in his hand, Mr. Baker ran to the minivan. The vehicle's passenger had escaped the overturned vehicle, but the unconscious driver was still inside, hanging from the seatbelt. With help from another bystander, Mr. Baker was able to unfasten the seatbelt and get the driver to safety.
Mr. Baker said with the accident victims until rescue crews could arrive. The driver survived the incident without any significant injuries.
Mr. Freiburger watched as a fellow motorist lost control of a vehicle that drove into a creek, flipped and stopped upside-down in the water. Mr. Freiburger raced to help the driver and the passengers, which he found to be a mother and three children.
Breaking a window, Mr. Freiburger helped the children out the car and carried them to safety up the creek's bank. Once they were safe, he ran back to the car, pulled open the door and rescued the mother.
Mr. Freiburger stayed with the family until rescue crews arrived and, due in part to his actions, all of the car's occupants suffered only minor injuries.
While driving though Washington State, Mr. Webb and his wife Carol watched as a dump truck swerved across marked lanes. As he pulled closer, Mr. Webb noticed that the driver had slumped over the steering wheel. As the dump truck slowed, Mr. Webb sprang into action.
After parking his own truck, Mr. Webb ran after the still moving dump truck. He jumped on the running board, opened the door, reached in and applied the brakes in an effort to bring the truck to a complete stop.
While his wife called 911, Mr. Webb pulled the dump truck driver from the vehicle with the help of another bystander. He noticed the driver was not breathing, so Mr. Webb began CPR.
The dump truck driver was hospitalized, but did survive.
All three of the finalists will be honored during the ceremony at the MATS event. Each will receive a cash prize and some other items. The winner also will receive special ring, a cash award and a trophy.
Additional details about this year's Highway Hero finalists is available found online at goodyeartrucktires.com.