Goodyear North American Highway Hero Award Past Winners

2022 - Andrew Waits

Andrew Waits, a full-time truck driver from Tacoma, Wash., was recognized for his swift thinking and courage to act while a life was on the line. As a result of an accident, a motorcyclist was thrown from his vehicle on a busy, four-lane highway. Andrew quickly positioned his tractor trailer to shield the unconscious motorcyclist from oncoming traffic and attended to the injured man using skills he learned as a volunteer firefighter until first responders could arrive.

2021 - Gerald “Andy” Wright

Gerald “Andy” Wright was driving in Illinois when he encountered a vehicle that was on fire following an accident. Equipped with nothing more than a fire extinguisher and load bar, Wright sprung to action and quickly suppressed the fire as best he could until the extinguisher ran out. He then proceeded to break the vehicle’s sunroof and helped pull the trapped occupants out of the vehicle to safety.

2018 - Paul Mathias

Paul Mathias was stopped at a red light in Arizona when he witnessed a vehicle slam into an SUV that was inhabited by a mother and her two children. Mathias, a U.S. military veteran, helped the mother perform CPR on her son and comforted her daughter, who passed away moments later. He then administered CPR to the boy, who survived, until emergency crews arrived and took over.

2017 - Frank Vieira

Frank Vieira was driving when he heard a loud crash and saw that a car had slammed into the back of a roll-off truck. The car's driver had been pierced through the neck by a broken steering wheel upon impact and was bleeding profusely. Vieira administered first aid to the still-conscious driver while notifying emergency services. The roll-off truck's driver then walked over to investigate and fainted at the sight of the motorist's injury. Vieira pulled him out of harm's way.

2016 - David Webb

David Webb was driving through Washington State when he spotted a dump truck in the next lane swerve. Pulling up to the truck, Webb noticed that its driver was slumped over the steering wheel. Webb parked his own truck, ran after the dump truck, hopped onto its running board, opened its door, reached in and applied its brakes, bringing it to a stop. He then pulled the unconscious driver out of the truck and performed CPR on him.

2015 - Julian Kaczor

Julian Kaczor was driving through Jacksonville, Fla., when a car drove past him at a high rate of speed, crashed into a construction barrier and began to emit smoke. Kaczor ran to the car as it became engulfed in flames. As the fire intensified, he forced the car's driver side door open, pulled the injured motorist out of the vehicle and dragged him to safety.

2014 - Clinton Blackburn

Clinton Blackburn was driving when he saw a sheriff's cruiser abruptly stop. Inside the car, a prisoner who was being transported was strangling a sheriff's county jailer from behind. Blackburn ran to the car and began struggling with the prisoner, who then pulled the jailer's gun from its holster. Blackburn grabbed the gun, turned it around and pointed it toward the prisoner. Working together, Blackburn and the jailer subdued the prisoner.

2013 - Ivan Vasovic

Ivan Vasovic saw a double tanker truck hit the concrete divider of a freeway overpass, slam into a guard rail and catch fire, with its tractor and first tanker hanging in mid-air. The truck's driver fell to the ground, breaking an arm and leg. Ivan poured water on himself, ran to the driver and pulled him to safety moments before the flame-engulfed truck crashed to the ground.

2012 - Jason Harte

Jason Harte was driving down an interstate when he witnessed a speeding pickup truck slam into a minivan, pushing it to the highway median. Harte approached the van and found a man and woman holding a baby. He also noticed that three other children were trapped in the van. He rescued the family from the van, and then drew upon his paramedic experience to help rescue crews tend to the victims' injuries until ambulances could take them away.

2011 - Mike Schiotis

Owner-operator Mike Schiotis was traveling down a Pennsylvania highway when he spotted a woman being followed by a gun-wielding attacker. Thinking quickly, Mike stopped his truck and stepped between the man and the woman. He ushered the woman into his truck and drove away as the gunman returned to his car and began following Mike's rig. Working with another truck driver, Mike evaded the gunman, giving law enforcement officials enough time to arrive on the scene.

2010 - Tilden Curl

Tilden Curl, a truck driver from Olympia, Wash., saves the lives of two people in a car that had come to a stop on railroad tracks.

Curl was driving on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when he saw a car leave the highway and come to a stop on a nearby set of railroad tracks. A train was rapidly approaching. An elderly woman exited the passenger side of the car and Tilden told her to move away from the tracks. He then noticed that the car's driver was unconscious and trapped inside. Tilden unfastened the man's seat belt and pulled him out of the car just seconds before the speeding train slammed into it.

2009 - Junichi Shimizu

Junichi Shimizu helped save the lives of three people involved in a fiery traffic accident, including one driver who was trapped in his burning vehicle.

On February 20, 2009, Shimizu, a driver for Chipman Relocations, was driving westbound on Highway 12 near Fairfield, CA, and witnessed a vehicle cross the centerline of the road and strike an automobile in front of his truck. The auto spun into the ditch, and the other vehicle then hit his tractor twice before bursting into flames. Upon coming to a stop, Shimizu called for assistance and then headed to the vehicle that was in flames.

2008 - Jorge Orozco Sanchez

An independent owner-operator, Orozco Sanchez was hauling grain on Oct. 28, 2008 on Highway 392, north of Greeley, CO, when an SUV suddenly crossed the center line and crashed head-on into his tractor-trailer rig.

As the vehicles stopped moving, a shaken Orozco Sanchez quickly jumped from his cab and went to the other vehicle. There, with flames already beginning to surround the vehicles, he saw two girls, strapped into their car seats and crying, and a woman up front who was not moving. Working with a passer-by who used a fire extinguisher to fight back the flames, Orozco Sanchez used his knowledge of child car seats – he has two young children – to rescue the two girls.

2007 - Richard Filiczkowski

Richard Filiczkowski, of Bountiful, Utah (C.R. England), saved an 8-year-old girl from a car sinking in a pond near the interstate.

Janet Filiczkowski was driving the C.R. England rig along a quiet stretch of Interstate 90 about 100 miles west of Sioux Falls when she saw a car cross four lanes of traffic and careen into a pond. She yelled for her husband, who was resting in the sleeper compartment. Filiczkowski quickly dressed, grabbed his shoes and ran a quarter-mile to the scene.

2006 - Edward A. Regener

Edward A. Regener, of Perris, Calif., escaped one fire and jumped into another to save the lives of two men trapped in their burning car.

The FedEx Freight truck driver scrambled from the passenger door of his damaged cab; a burning pickup truck was lodged against his driver's door, blocking an easy exit. To make matters worse, his twin trailers contained hazardous materials that would contribute to the spread of a toxic fire.

2005 - Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford of Ashford, Ala., a driver for Saia Motor Freight Lines Inc., was named the 23rd Goodyear North America Highway Hero. Crawford helped save the life of one of his own when a Roadway 18-wheeler collided with Herman Langford's Sexton Farms Trucking tractor-trailer. Both tractors exploded into flames. Dodging out-of-control cars trying to avoid the accident, Crawford immediately parked on the highway shoulder and ran across the median and was able to pull Langford out of the burning truck.

2004 - Rick Dent

A Texas truck driver – called a “mountain of a man” by the family whose lives he saved – was named Thursday night as the 22nd Goodyear North American Highway Hero.

Rick Dent – a 6-foot, 300-pound, Diana, Texas, driver for Groendyke Transport Inc. – was credited with coming to the aid of Bob Strickland and his small children, Megan and Paul, when Strickland's car swerved to miss a deer and landed in a water-filled ditch.

2003 - Derrick Harris

The 21st annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero was a Virginia truck driver who saved the life of an individual deliberately set on fire, then helped police locate and arrest the person charged with the hideous crime. Harris, a driver with Schneider since October 2002, was also recognized by his employer with Schneider's Presidential Citation Award.

2002 - Charles Ingram

Charles Ingram, a six- year veteran driver for FedEx Ground was the 2002 North American Highway Hero. On Oct. 28, 2002, Ingram was driving his 18-wheeler in the metro Atlanta area when he came upon an accident with a car on fire. There were two passengers trapped in the burning vehicle, and no bystanders were attempting to fight the flames and rescue the pair. Ingram grabbed a hammer and rushed forward. He broke out the passenger-side rear window and pulled the passenger out of the vehicle. He then broke the driver's window, and pulled free the unconscious driver.

2001 - Larry "Scott" Travis

Travis is a 10-year veteran and a master trainer for Covenant Transportation in Chattanooga, Tenn. and the 2001 North American Highway Hero. Travis was traveling just outside Sheridan, Ark., when he saw flames shooting into the air from an SUV that had run off the road into a deep ditch. Fire extinguisher in hand, he rushed into the deep ditch. As he approached the vehicle, Travis realized there was a woman behind the wheel, apparently unconscious. Passing his fire extinguisher to another bystander, Travis reached through an opening in the flames to pull the woman from the SUV, suffering burns on his own body in the process. He struggled to pull her through the high overgrowth, and was repeatedly showered with flame and ash. Just seconds after pulling the woman from the vehicle, it exploded.

2000 - David Zorn

Selfless actions in rescuing a police officer under attack on the side of the highway earned him the 2000 Goodyear North American Highway Hero Award. Zorn, of Forest Park, Ga., was traveling through Norcross, Ga., when he witnessed a police officer being attacked on the side of the road. The suspect had pinned the officer and was trying to get his gun. However, when Zorn stopped his 18-wheeler to assist, the suspect fled. Brandishing a large flashlight, Zorn pursued the suspect, caught him and held him until the police arrived

1999 - Terry Harvey and Floyd Anthony Miller

Truck drivers Terry Harvey and Floyd Anthony Miller didn't know each other when they came across a fiery two-car accident on Kentucky's Mountain Highway. Yet they worked together like seasoned partners and saved the two motorists from near certain death.

Their bravery and split-second ingenuity earned them the title of Goodyear North America Highway Heroes for 1999. The award was announced today at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

1998 - Wayne Carpenter

At a press conference at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Carpenter, a 13-year trucking professional who drives for Cheshire Oil Company, was identified as the winner of the nations' most prestigious truck industry award.

Carpenter was headed for his terminal to pick up a load when he saw the head-on collision of a car and truck, causing both vehicles to explode in flames. Carpenter emptied his fire extinguisher on the blaze in a futile attempt to control the escalating fire.

The badly injured passenger in the car had managed to pull free of the burning wreckage and yelled to Carpenter that the driver was trapped. With no regard for risk to himself, Carpenter lunged into the flames and pulled the unconscious and critically injured driver out of the car. Later, the injured passenger car operator succumbed.

1997 - Thomas Lawson, Lithonia, Georgia

The nation's 15th annual Goodyear National Highway Hero is a truck driver from Lithonia, Ga., who saved a man's life by pulling him from a burning vehicle moments before it exploded. Thomas Lawson, a 14-year veteran driver for ABF Freight Systems, Inc. in Fort Smith, Ark., accepted the designation, a $20,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a diamond ring on The Nashville Network's PrimeTime Country program.

1996 - Jeff May, Guilford, Conn., and Clint LeFabvre, Moultonborough, New Hampshire

May and LeFabvre, driving for UPS from separate terminals in different states, converged on an accident scene one foggy night in Massachusetts. The two pulled a critically injured victim from his car moments before the vehicle's gas tank exploded and engulfed the car in flames. Both men then rescued the second accident victim whose vehicle had run off the road and was wedged in a tree 20 feet in the air. May and LeFabvre stopped the victim, who was in shock, from stepping out of the truck and then helped him climb down from the tree.

1995 - Rob Lomanno, Malden, Mass., and Chris Kendall, Nashua, New Hampshire

Lomanno and Kendall, drivers for Clark & Reid Executive Movers, pried the doors off a burning sport utility vehicle to pull to safety a critically injured woman and her three children. Actions by the two truckers saved the lives of the children. Their mother succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident.

1994 - Todd Forbush, Sr., Elyria, Ohio

Forbush crawled on his stomach underneath and into the jammed open door of a pickup truck to rescue the young woman pinned behind the wheel after she fell asleep and slammed at full speed into his UPS truck in rural Ohio. Her truck burst into flames after hitting Forbushs' truck at least three times as the smaller truck spun out of control after the initial impact. Forbush, a career driver for UPS, took less than 10 seconds, according to his truck's computer, to exit the cab and reach the young woman to help her. Today, she has almost fully recovered.

1993 - Boyd Applegate, San Diego, California

In just over two months, Applegate participated in life-saving efforts at two accident scenes. Thanks to his quick thinking and willingness to be of help, two motor vehicle accident victims are alive today. In the first incident, Applegate climbed into a steep, rocky ravine in the middle of the night and rescued a driver, thrown clear of his vehicle and hidden among some rocks on the opposite side of the ravine.

In the second incident, Applegate cleared the breathing passage of an L.A. patrolman whose face had been crushed in a car accident that also injured his wife.

1992 - Connie Cooper and Patrick Fee, Cottonwood, California

Working together, this husband and wife driving team saved a woman from certain death when they pulled her from the center lane of an interstate highway under an overpass where she had been thrown after being attacked. Officials speculate her attacker threw her into the path of traffic to destroy evidence. Cooper and Fee dodged and sidestepped traffic to pull the woman to safety; and later, courtroom testimony based on the victim's conversations with Cooper, led to the arrest of a suspect and his subsequent conviction and imprisonment.

1991 - Phillip Houck, Tupelo, Oklahoma

Houck saw a station wagon strike the rear end of a parked flatbed trailer, then burst into flames. The driver was decapitated and three children in the back of the wrecked vehicle were in danger of burning, so Houck used a fire extinguisher, a pipe and his hands to smash out the windows of the car and pull the children to safety.

1990 - Kenneth Bass, Milton, Florida

Bass saved a man from drowning by making repeated attempts to pull him from a submerged car. Bass glimpsed the splash as a car left the road at a narrow bridge and plunged into a swiftly running and deep stream in the dark of night.

1989 - Rickey McFadden, Lexington, Ohio

McFadden rescued two people by climbing into a smoking, overturned car as it teetered on the edge of a ravine, held from plummeting down the precipice only by a small sapling.

1988 - Tommy Smith, Paragould, Arkansas

Smith twice entered a burning wrecked car to rescue injured motorists. He first pulled free a female occupant who regained consciousness and mumbled that her husband was still in the car. Smith went back into the car, got into the burning back seat and used his feet to push on the front seat to free the man pinned in the wreckage.

1987 - Robert Williams, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Williams was cited for plunging into a burning vehicle and cutting the driver's seat belt to free her before the car exploded.

1986 - James Warren, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Warren rescued a 13-year-old mentally handicapped child from a burning vehicle, tearing off a jammed door to reach him.

1985 - Curt Jones, Oneonta, Alabama

Jones, then a resident of Blaine, Tenn., was cited as the first trucker to emblazon his tractor-trailer rig with huge posters of missing children, to point out the plight of runaways. He organized 10 truck convoys to call attention to the need for more awareness of missing children, and began a program of visiting schools urging youngsters to seek counseling instead of running from problems.

1984 - Dennis Myers, Leipsic, Ohio

Myers, a cross-country driver, rescued a crash victim seconds before the damaged vehicle exploded.

1983 - Ronnie Stapleton, Beckley, West Virginia

Stapleton used his bare hands to tear off the back door of a burning car, then broke the vehicle's back seat in two to extricate the vehicle's two unconscious occupants. At that time, Stapleton -- who was also a preacher -- hauled explosives.