Alabama trucker named Highway Hero

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“That man saved my life,” said Leesburg, Ga., trucker Herman Langford about Douglas Crawford, who was named the 23rd Goodyear North America Highway Hero on Thursday, March 23 at the Truck Writers of North America awards banquet.

Crawford, a Saia Motor Freight driver from Ashford, Ala., was southbound at mile marker 51 on Interstate 85 in Georgia when he saw an 18-wheeler cross the median and hit Langford’s rig. Crawford dodged swerving cars, parked his truck on the shoulder, grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran to the wrecked trucks. He saw the cab of the runaway had disintegrated in flames.

“I knew nobody could survive that,” Crawford says, so he ran to Langford’s burning truck and put out the blaze. It had destroyed the back wall of the sleeper, so Crawford walked in and found Langford conscious, unable to move and soaked with diesel fuel. “I heard the truck hissing and popping, and I told him, ‘We’ve got to get out of here,’ ” Crawford says. “He grabbed ahold of me, and I carried him out.” Just moments after they got to safety, the truck exploded.

For his highway heroism, Crawford was awarded a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a custom-designed Goodyear Highway Hero ring and a commemorative plaque. He was selected from among four Highway Hero finalists, all of whom were honored at the banquet. The other three are:

  • Danny Wallen, an ABF Freight Systems driver from Conover, Ohio, who saved a couple from a burning car.
  • Robert A. Starr, a state senator and owner-operator from North Troy, Vt., who saved a woman from a burning car.
  • Michael Knott, a FedEx Ground driver from Casselberry, Fla., who rescued a mother and her child who lay helpless on the Florida Turnpike after being struck by a car.
  • “In our eyes, they are all heroes,” says Peter Christoffersen of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems.