LOUISVILLE, Ky. — U.S. military veteran Paul Mathias was selected as this year's recipient of the Goodyear Highway Hero Award, which honors truck drivers who risk injury to help others.
Mr. Mathias, a driver for System Transport of Cheney, Wash., stepped in when he witnessed an accident in late 2017 at an intersection in Phoenix, where a vehicle running a red light slammed into an SUV containing a mother and her two children.
Mr. Mathias helped the mother perform CPR on her son and comforted her daughter, who died on the scene from her injuries. Mr. Mathias administered CPR on the boy until emergency crews arrived. The boy survived.
The award, which included a commemorative Goodyear Highway Hero ring and cash prize, was presented March 28 during a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel in Louisville during the 2019 Mid-American Trucking Show.
"We are proud to add Paul Mathias to our list of Goodyear Highway Heroes," Goodyear Marketing Director Gary Medalis said. "His leadership, courage and willingness to help a family in crisis exemplify the spirit of this award."
The winner of the Goodyear Highway Hero Award, established in 1983, was selected by an independent panel consisting of members of trucking industry journalists.
Other finalists for the award included Darrell Atkins, a driver from Alvaredo, Texas, and Don Frederick, a driver from Kimbolton, Ohio.
Mr. Atkins was driving on an Arizona interstate when he witnessed a vehicle containing an elderly couple get struck from behind, flip over and come to a stop on a grassy median.
Mr. Atkins worked with a bystander to extract the driver, who was hanging upside down by her seatbelt. Even as gasoline began to leak, Mr. Atkins continued to remove the husband and the couple's three dogs from the car and remained with them until emergency crews arrived.
Mr. Frederick was driving on a state highway in Ohio when he witnessed a coal truck flip onto its side while making a turn. Mr. Frederick removed the damaged truck's back window, reached into the vehicle and applied direct pressure to the wounded driver, who was bleeding heavily and trapped by the truck's steering wheel.
As the truck began to emit smoke, Mr. Frederick freed the driver's legs and worked with a bystander to help the driver exit the truck. Mr. Frederick continued to render first aid until emergency crews arrived.