John Crozman of Albertville, Minn.; Melville Farnell of Shelburne, Ontario; John Neumeier of Russia, Ohio; and Mike Schiotis of Seville, Ohio, were named finalists for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s North America Highway Hero Award.
Crozman, who drives for Long Haul Trucking, was driving near Summit, S.D., in a snowstorm when he noticed a candle flickering inside a car parked on the side of the highway. Crozman found an elderly couple inside. Ill-equipped for the dangerous weather, they had been trapped in the car for more than four hours. Crozman let them spend the night in his warm sleeper cab. The next day, he made sure they were safe and their car was rescued before continuing along his route.
Farnell, a driver for Tupling Farms Produce Inc., was making a delivery when a car slammed into his truck head-on. Farnell’s tractor-trailer jackknifed and diesel fuel began leaking onto the highway. Farnell approached the car, which had landed in a ditch, and saw a semi-conscious male in the driver’s seat. Farnell broke the driver’s side window and pulled the motorist to safety. Minutes later, the car exploded.
Neumeier, a driver for Bohman Trucking, was loading his milk delivery truck when a car on a nearby road missed a curve and plunged into an 8-foot-deep pond. As the car began to sink, Neumeier looked inside and saw the driver’s cell phone light. He grabbed a wrench, dove into the pond, and broke the driver’s side window. Neumeier pulled the driver out to shore.
Schiotis, a driver for Panther Expedited Services Inc., was driving when he saw a woman walking with a man close behind her. Thinking they were injured, he slowed down and saw the man was pointing a gun at the woman. Schiotis jumped out of his truck and positioned himself between the woman, who was bleeding from the head, and her assailant. He helped her into his rig.
The gun-carrying man followed Schiotis’ truck. Schiotis notified the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, then used his CB radio to alert other truckers. Another driver, who was behind Schiotis’ 18-wheeler, heard him and decided to help. Together, they drove side-by-side, weaving back and forth to prevent the gunman from closing in on Schiotis’ tractor. This gave troopers time to capture the man.
Trucking industry journalists are voting on this year’s finalists, who will be featured March 22 at the trucking show in Louisville, Ky., at the Truck Writers of North America annual banquet. The winner will receive a specially designed ring, a plaque and a cash award. Each of the other finalists will receive a plaque and a cash award.