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

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