Goodyear names Washington truck driver as Highway Hero

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Updated Apr 3, 2011

Highway Hero

The 28th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero is a truck driver from Olympia, Wash., who helped save the lives of two people in a car that had come to a stop on railroad tracks, including pulling the unconscious driver from his car before it was struck by an approaching train. From among four finalists, Tilden Curl accepted the 2010 Goodyear North America Highway Hero award and a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond.

Just after noon on Oct. 27, 2010, Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when a vehicle appeared to lose control and cross traffic, leaving the highway and finally coming to a stop with its front wheels lodged over the railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl stopped his truck to check on the car and noticed a train was coming. An elderly woman exited the passenger side of the car, and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. He then noticed that the driver was unconscious and trapped inside. At first, the door couldn’t be opened, but Curl was able to squeeze his arm inside and unlock it. Working quickly, he was able to unfasten the man’s seatbelt and drag him out of the car and away from the area just seconds before the train collided with the stranded vehicle.

“We are grateful to Tilden Curl for his quick thinking and brave actions, which ultimately led two strangers to safety,” says Joseph Copeland, Goodyear’s vice president of commercial tire systems. “This is a clear example of the selflessness and professionalism of many of today’s professional truck drivers, who are out on our highways every day to deliver the goods and services upon which we all depend. In honoring Tilden Curl, we acknowledge that he witnessed a dangerous situation and immediately pulled his truck to a stop as a way to provide help. He then reacted quickly and put himself in harm’s way, in order to help rescue strangers who were in peril. Because of that decision, lives were saved. For this, he has earned the right to be called a hero.”

Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America.