March 1, 2004
Goodyear names finalists for North America Highway Hero Award
Akron, Ohio – Four professional truck drivers, who set aside their focus on load transport to come to the emergency aid of others, have been selected as finalists for the Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, the trucking industry’s most prestigious award for heroism.
On March 25, the drivers will be introduced to the trucking industry at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, and one of the drivers will be named the 2003 Goodyear North America Highway Hero.
The finalists are:
- David Dunham, Fitchburg, MA — Traveling from California to New York on
Dec. 19, 2002, Dunham was on Interstate 40 in New Mexico when he heard
a report on his citizen’s band radio about another eastbound truck that
had gone off of the roadway. Soon, Dunham spotted the trailer of the
crashed rig sticking up from the median strip. He quickly stopped his
truck, grabbed a flashlight and headed toward the wreckage. Running to
the truck in the darkness, Dunham stumbled and fell in the field of
lava rock in the median strip, cutting his hands and knees, spraining a
thumb and dropping the flashlight. Hearing someone in the cab, and
noticing that flames were coming from the driver’s side of the truck,
Dunham reacted quickly. He grabbed the driver, Azem Rizvanovic of
Arizona, by the arms and pulled him from the burning truck. Dunham
dragged the dazed and injured driver from the wreckage, which now was
fully engulfed in flames. Rizvanovic, who had come to America with his
family to escape the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was taken to Dunham’s
truck until police and medical personnel arrived on the scene. He was
transported to a local hospital for treatment, and later fully
recovered from the accident. Dunham was employed at the time of the
rescue by Ronnie Dowdy Inc., based in Batesville, AR. He now drives
for U.S. Express.
- Derrick Harris, Hopewell, VA — On Nov. 12, 2003, Harris, a driver for
Schneider National Carriers, had just left the Richmond area with a
load that was headed to Knoxville, TN, when he noticed a fire near the
side of the road. Realizing it was actually a person on fire, he drove
to the person, stopped and secured the truck, then grabbed a blanket
and cooler of water. He extinguished the fire by wrapping the person
in the blanket, then soaked it with water for more comfort for the burn
victim. Once the individual was down and comfortable, Harris ran back
to his truck, grabbed his fire extinguisher and put out a fire that had
started in some surrounding trees. While extinguishing the fire, he
noticed a container of something that smelled like kerosene. Harris
stayed with the victim, trying to keep him conscious and comfortable
while he called for help on his cell phone and awaited emergency
response. Based on comments from the burn victim and other
observations in the area, Harris suggested to the responding local
police that it appeared someone had deliberately set the man on fire.
With this information, police began searching the woods, and found a
suspect within three hours. The suspect admitted the next day to
setting the other man on fire. Though the victim suffered burns over
60 percent of his body, Harris’ quick actions helped save his life, and
he was integral in finding the responsible party.
- Joe Sines, Horse Shoe Run, WV — When hauling a load of glass from
North Carolina to Minnesota, Sines was traveling on I-77 in West
Virginia on July 17, 2003, when he witnessed an accident in front of
him. A van veered out of its lane, became airborne and crossed the
median strip. As Sines applied his brakes, he saw the van roll five
times. Securing his truck, Sines leaped from his cab and ran to help,
first instructing his 14-year-old son, who was riding with him, to stay
in the truck. He discovered the van lying on the driver’s side, with
all the windows broken out. Two children were in the back – one in a
car seat and the other strapped in a safety belt. Sines called 911 on
his cell phone, then quickly used his pocketknife to cut the safety
straps and free the young girls. Both clinged to him, but he was able
to hand the youngest, a one-year-old, to an onlooker. The seven-year-
old had a gash on her forehead, and Sines was able to grab a diaper
that had scattered in the backseat, and press it against the bleeding.
By this time, emergency personnel had arrived and attempted to save the
mother. She was seriously injured, and died a short time later. Sines
is a driver for Schneider National Carriers, based in Green Bay, WI.
- Anne Spriggs, Willow Springs, MO — She and her driving partner with
CRST Van Ex, Ronnie Grider, had just finished refueling at a truck stop
near Paduca, KY, on Aug. 22, 2003 when the evening turned frantic.
Spriggs, in the driver’s seat, was just about to pull away from the
truck stop when a car stopped in front of her truck.
A woman jumped out and waved for help. Spriggs set the brakes, jumped
out of the truck and followed the woman. In the back seat of the car
was a five-year-old girl — unconscious and with her tongue rolled
back, blocking her airway. The girl’s mother said the child had not
been breathing for about a minute. A former nurse, Spriggs recognized
the symptoms of a grand mal seizure, and went to work. She moved the
girl’s tongue forward and began administering CPR. After 30-40
seconds, the girl caught her breath. Spriggs continued with CPR, and
after a few minutes the girl was breathing on her own. By this time,
an ambulance had arrived. The mother thanked Spriggs and then followed
the ambulance to a nearby hospital.
“Stories like these make us all thankful that there are courageous individuals such as professional truck drivers on our roadways,” said Steve McClellan, Goodyear’s vice president for Commercial Tire Systems. “In the 21 years since the inception of the Goodyear Highway Hero program, we have heard about hundreds of truck drivers who placed themselves in harm’s way to save someone else, and we believe it is important that they be recognized publicly.”
The finalists were culled from nominees throughout the United States and Canada. A panel of judges, consisting of members of the trucking and tire trade media, will select the 2003 Goodyear North America Highway Hero.
To nominate a professional truck driver for the 2004 Goodyear Highway Hero Award, visit.