With so many commercial trucks on the road, many times it’s the truck drivers who come to the rescue. To honor the bravery of commercial vehicle operators who put themselves in harm’s way to help those in need, Goodyear created the Highway Hero Award in 1983.
In a crowded conference room in Louisville, Ky., during the Mid-America Trucking Show, Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear, shared the heroism of three award finalists before announcing winner David Webb of Billings, Mont.. with Wilson Logistics.
According to Goodyear, Webb and his wife, Carol, were driving through Washington State last June when they observed a dump truck in the next lane swerve. Webb pulled up to the dump truck and noticed that its driver was slumped over the steering wheel. As the dump truck slowed, Webb parked his own truck and ran after the still-moving vehicle.
He jumped onto the dump truck’s running board, opened the door, reached inside and applied the brakes, which brought the truck to a stop. As Carol called 911, Webb, working with a bystander, pulled the driver, who was not breathing, out of the truck and was performing CPR on him when help arrived. The driver was hospitalized and survived.
“David took immediate action to save a fellow truck driver and stop an out-of-control truck that could have injured others,” said Medalis. “For his quick thinking and courage, we are proud to name him our 34th Goodyear Highway Hero.”
As the Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Webb receives a special custom Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 cash prize and a special trophy. Finalists receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy.
“It’s something we do all the time,” said Webb when interviewed.
“If somebody needs help, you’ve got to help them,” his wife, Carol, added.
The two finalists were Chris Baker, a driver from Chicopee, Mass., with Cowan Systems, and Tim Freiburger, a driver from Huntington, Ind., with Grammer Industries.
Baker was driving down a New Jersey highway when he spotted flickering lights ahead. Pulling closer to investigate, he found a minivan that had flipped over onto its side. Flames erupted from the vehicle’s engine. Grabbing his fire extinguisher, he ran to the van and put out the fire. By then, the van’s passenger had escaped and crawled to safety, but its unconscious driver remained inside, hanging from a seat belt. Working with a bystander, Baker unfastened the driver’s seat belt, grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him away from the van. Baker stayed by his side until rescue crews arrived. The man survived and did not suffer any significant injuries.
Freiburger was driving through Indiana when he saw a car lose control and drive into a creek, where it flipped and came to a stop, upside-down in standing water. Freiburger raced to the car, which contained a mother and her three children. He broke a window and pulled the children out of the car. After carrying them to the creek’s bank, he returned to the car, ripped open its door, and rescued the mother. He stayed with the family until paramedics arrived. The family suffered only minor bruises as a result of the accident.
The Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner was selected by an independent panel consisting of members of the trucking trade press. Nominations are open for next year’s 35th Highway Hero Award at goodyeartrucktires.com/newsroom/highway-heroes/.