Three truck drivers who performed heroic actions during the course of their jobs within the last year have been named finalists in Goodyear’s annual Highway Hero award.
The three finalists are: Chris Baker of Chicopee, Massachusetts; Tim Freiburger of Huntington, Indiana; and David Webb of Billings, Montana.
The winner of the 34th annual Highway Hero award will be named March 23 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. The winner will be chosen by a panel of trucking industry journalists and will receive a special ring, cash award and a trophy. The other two finalists will receive a cash prize and other items.
All three trucker finalists aided motorists in need along the highway after crashes.
Baker was driving down a New Jersey highway in May when he saw flickering lights ahead. As he came closer, he saw a minivan had flipped on its side and flames erupting from the vehicle’s engine. He grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran to put the fire out. One of the van’s passengers had escaped, but the driver was unconscious and hanging from the seat belt. Baker worked with another bystander to unfasten the seat belt and pull the man from the van. Both van passengers survived with minor injuries. Baker stayed with the crash victims until authorities arrived.
Freiburger was driving through Indiana in March when he saw a car lose control and drive into a creek. The car flipped and landed upside down in standing water. Freiburger ran to the car, which contained a mother and three children. He broke a window and pulled the children to safety. He carried them to the creek’s bank and returned to the car to rescue the mother. He had to rip the door off of the car to pull her out. The family sustained only minor injuries. Freiburger stayed with the family until authorities arrived.
Webb and his wife Carol were driving through Washington State in June when they saw a dump truck swerving next to them. Webb noticed the driver of the dump truck was slumped over the wheel. As the dump truck slowed, Webb parked his rig and ran to the moving dump truck. He jumped on the truck’s running board, opened the door and mashed the brake. He then worked with a bystander to pull the driver — who was not breathing – out of the truck. He performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. The dump truck driver survived after a hospital stay.