Goodyear Names Highway Hero Finalists

Goodyear has named four finalists for its annual North America Highway Hero Award. The finalists include: a trucker who rescued a motorist from a car just before it exploded; a driver who defended a woman against a gun-wielding attacker; a driver who aided an elderly couple during a blizzard; and a truck driver who pulled a trapped motorist from a pond.

As the Goodyear vice president Phillip Kane explains, the company’s Highway Hero Award recognizes the heroic acts of people who hold truck driving jobs. “Each of our Highway Hero finalists rescued strangers who were in life-threatening peril, and each is a worthy candidate for the award.” While the top prizewinner will receive a specially designed ring, a Highway Hero plaque and a cash award, the other three finalists will receive plaques and cash awards too.

Drivers from all North American trucking companies were eligible for nomination. The finalists include drivers from four companies and hail from Minnesota, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. Read on for a rundown of their heroic acts.

Trucker Prevents Driver’s Death

Trucking companies take special pride in drivers like Melville Farnell. Farnell, a resident of Shelburne, Ontario, is a delivery driver for Tupling Farms Produce. In May of 2011 a car slammed head-on into his tractor-trailer. Farnell’s vehicle jackknifed. Although he was shaken, Farnell jumped into rescue mode. When he saw a semi-conscious driver in the crashed vehicle, Farnell broke the driver’s window and pulled the much heavier man to safety. The car exploded minutes later.

Driver Saves Pedestrian from Attack

Mike Schiotis of Seville, Ohio drives for Panther Expedited Services. In November of 2011 he was en route to Pennsylvania when he saw a man pointing a gun at a woman along the street. When Schiotis slowed down, the woman pounded on his door and cried, “Help me! He’s going to kill me!” Schiotis fended off the gunman and helped the woman into his rig. Her head was bleeding.

The attacker began following Schiotis in a car. Schiotis contacted the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol and used his CB to alert other truckers about the situation. As the gunman closed in on Schiotis’ 18-wheeler, another trucker intervened by weaving between lanes. State troopers caught up shortly thereafter and apprehended the attacker.

Trucker Rescues Couple During Snowstorm

Truck driving jobs sometimes involve offering shelter. John Crozman, a trucker from Albertville, Minnesota, drives for Long Haul Trucking. In the winter of 2011 he was traveling through a blizzard in Summit, South Dakota. He noticed a candle flickering inside a parked car. Braving subzero winds, he walked to the vehicle and found an elderly couple who had been stranded for hours. He let them sleep in his heated cab along an access road that night. The next day he ensured that the couple would be safe and that their vehicle would be towed to a repair station. Authorities noted that given the bitter cold, the couple might not have survived the night without Crozman’s assistance.

Trucker Pulls Driver from Pond

The fourth trucking hero is John Neumeier of Russia, Ohio. In November of 2011 he was loading cargo for Bohman Trucking when a car veered into a nearby pond. Neumeier arrived as the car was sinking into eight feet of water. Seeing the driver’s cell phone light inside, he dove into the water and used a wrench to break the driver’s window. He pulled the man to safety and an ambulance arrived shortly thereafter.

Stay tuned to learn the winner of the 29th North America Highway Hero Award.

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