Trucker named Highway Hero for rescuing jailer

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Clint Blackburn, right, and jailer Darrell Herndon have become good friends since Blackburn saved Herndon from being strangled by a prisoner. “I call him brother Darrell,” Blackburn said.Clint Blackburn, right, and jailer Darrell Herndon have become good friends since Blackburn saved Herndon from being strangled by a prisoner. “I call him brother Darrell,” Blackburn said.

Clint Blackburn, a Kentucky driver who saved a law enforcement official from an attack by a hostile prisoner, was named the 32nd Goodyear Highway Hero Thursday at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. He won $5,000, a trophy and a Highway Hero ring.

Finalists David Fredericksen, a driver from Windermere, Fla., and Mack Guffey, a driver from Gainesboro, Tenn., were present for the announcement and won $1,000 each.

Blackburn was grateful to receive the award because “we don’t get a lot of spotlight on truckers,” he said. “I thank the good Lord for putting me where he did.”

“Clinton acted without regard for his own safety, literally putting himself in harm’s way to save another person,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear’s commercial tires. “His decision to get involved is a powerful example of the selflessness and courage exhibited by professional truck drivers.”

Blackburn was driving near Elizabethtown, Ky., last year when he observed a sheriff’s cruiser lurch toward the median and abruptly stop. He stopped and discovered the driver, Spencer County jailer Darrell Herndon, being strangled by a prisoner in the back seat.

After Blackburn began struggling with the prisoner, the prisoner pulled Herndon’s gun from its holster. Blackburn grabbed the barrel and pointed it toward the dashboard. Meanwhile, Herndon released his seat belt and rolled out of the car.

Blackburn gained control of the pistol and held the prisoner at gunpoint. As Blackburn backed away from the car, the prisoner tried to start it to escape, but Blackburn and Herndon subdued him.

Fredericksen and Guffey were involved with separate incidents where a wrecked vehicle caught on fire. Both used fire extinguishers to repel flames and then rescued one or more passengers.

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