4 finalists named for Goodyear Highway Hero award

Four finalists have been named for the 28th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award.

Truckers Jaime Avitia, of El Paso, Texas; Tilden Curl, of Olympia, Wash.; Bill Howard, of Litchfield, Neb.; and David Nelson, of Orlando, Fla., were selected for the heroism award.

“These four individuals represent the thousands of professional truck drivers who work every day across North America. Each year, this program offers an opportunity for recognition of those who put their lives on the line to help others,” said Joseph Copeland, vice president for commercial tire systems for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

Avitia, a driver for Stagecoach Cartage, witnessed a one-truck accident on Highway 17 in Texas. He found the driver in the back seat of the crew cab. Unable to find a pulse, Avitia administered CPR on the man until he began to breathe. Until paramedics arrived, Avitia applied a towel and gauze to the man’s bleeding head and kept him comfortable.

Curl, a driver for Tecco Trucking, was driving on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when a car went out of control and stopped on railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl noticed a train was coming and yelled for the passenger side to get clear of the tracks. He unfastened the unconscious driver’s seatbelt and dragged him out of the car seconds before the train collided with the vehicle.

Howard, a driver for Howard Transportation, was driving on Highway 2 near Ravenna, Neb., when a car crossed the center line and struck his rig. He discovered the female driver had sustained life-threatening injuries, including a nearly severed arm, two broken legs, and injuries to her face and head. Howard secured her injured arm with a shirt and kept her from bleeding to death until firefighters could arrive to help him save the woman’s life.

Nelson, a driver for Werner Enterprises, was driving on I-20 near Birmingham, Ala., when he was flagged down by a woman who had just lost control of her vehicle and hit a road sign. He discovered the woman’s 7-year-old daughter inside was not breathing. A certified EMT for 25 years, Nelson performed CPR until she began breathing and emergency personnel arrived.

The winner will be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on March 31 and receive a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a plaque and a specially designed ring. The other finalists will receive a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond and plaque.

For more on the program, go to www.goodyear.com/truck/news/hero.html.