Goodyear honors Highway Hero at MATS next month

highway hero

Three truck drivers are in the running for one of the industry’s top awards, which can only be won by helping someone else.

Finalists for the 35th Goodyear Highway Hero Award include a driver who used his truck to end a high-speed chase involving state troopers and a stolen car, a driver whose quick thinking and skillful driving saved the life of a badly injured motorcyclist, and a driver who administered first aid to a motorist who had been pierced through the neck by a broken steering wheel after crashing into a truck.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company hands out the award Thursday, March 22, at the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The three finalists are:

  • Brian Bucenell from Richmond, Virginia
  • Ryan Moody from Tacoma, Washington
  • Frank Vieira from Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

“Since 1983, Goodyear has honored professional truck drivers who have put themselves in harm’s way to help others, making the Goodyear Highway Hero Award the oldest and most prestigious honor of its kind,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear. “It is our privilege to have recognized truck drivers for their extraordinary acts of heroism over the last three decades and we will continue this great tradition next month.”

Here’s why this year’s finalists were nominated, according to Goodyear.

Bucenell had just merged onto the Ohio Turnpike near Toledo when he switched on his CB and overhead other truck drivers discussing a high-speed chase that was taking place not far from his location. Moments later, while glancing at his mirror, Bucenell spotted a group of state troopers chasing a car, which was rapidly heading his way. Bucenell’s truck entered a construction zone and was forced to merge from three lanes to two lanes. The speeding car tried to pass Bucenell’s 18-wheeler on the shoulder. Over the course of the next minute, while maintaining highway speed, Bucenell kept pace with the car, spotted an opening and maneuvered his truck to sandwich the car against the guard rail, stopping the vehicle and giving state troopers time to catch up with it. Troopers arrested the car’s driver and passengers, who were later charged with motor vehicle theft. They had chased the suspects, whose stolen car had attained speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, for more than 20 minutes.

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Moody was driving down a Chicago freeway when a motorcyclist swerved and crashed in front of his truck. With no time to spare, Moody maneuvered his truck to avoid hitting the unconscious motorcyclist, who was bleeding from a head injury, and then positioned his 18-wheeler to protect him from other vehicles. After jumping out of his truck, Moody wrapped his shirt around the badly injured motorcyclist’s head to prevent further blood loss, while also calming surrounding bystanders, who had gathered nearby. Moody stayed with the motorcyclist until paramedics arrived. They later credited him with saving the man’s life.

Vieira was driving near Toronto, when he heard a loud crash, looked over his shoulder and noticed that a car on the other side of the road had slammed into the back of a stationary roll-off truck. Vieira parked his truck and ran to the car, whose driver had been pierced through the neck by a piece of his own vehicle’s steering wheel, which had snapped off on impact. Vieira placed one of his hands over the still-conscious motorist’s wound and applied direct pressure, while using his other hand to notify emergency services. The driver of the parked truck walked over to the car to investigate and immediately fainted at the sight of the injuries sustained by the motorist. While continuing to apply direct pressure, Vieira used his foot to pull the leg of the driver who had fainted away from traffic. Emergency personnel arrived and transported both men to the hospital. They survived.

Trucking industry journalists are evaluating the finalists and will select the 35th Goodyear Highway Hero Award recipient.

The winner receives a special ring, a cash award and a trophy. Each of the other finalists receives a cash prize and other items.