A military veteran and longtime truck driver from Billings, Montana is the 34th Goodyear Highway Hero.
David Webb, who drives for Jim Palmer Trucking, received the award during ceremonies Thursday, March 23, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. He was recognized for performing life-saving CPR on a fellow driver who had suffered a heart attack while driving.
Webb received $5,000, a commemorative ring, and trophy.
Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear, said Webb and the other two finalists — Chris Baker of Chicopee, Massachusetts and Tim Freiburger from Huntington, Indiana — “all earned the right to be called hero” for their actions while on the road. Medalis said the three upheld the tradition of truck drivers often being first on the scene of highway mishaps and not hesitating to stop and help.
In the case of Webb, he and his wife, Carol, were driving through Washington State on their way to pick up a load of apples when they observed a dump truck in the next lane swerve. Webb pulled alongside the dump truck and saw its driver was slumped over the steering wheel.
As the dump truck slowed on an uphill grade, Webb parked his truck and ran after the still-moving vehicle, which had started back downhill. Webb, who received medical training while in the Army, gave chase and jumped onto the dump truck’s running board, opened the door, reached in and applied the brakes, bringing the truck to a stop.
As Carol called 911, Webb, working with a bystander, pulled the driver, who was not breathing, out of the truck and was performing CPR on him when help arrived. The driver was hospitalized and survived.
At Thursday’s ceremony, Webb, who has driven for Jim Palmer for 21 years, said he and the man he rescued are now good friends. They met shortly after the man Webb rescued came out of a coma.
After the ceremonies, Webb said he had no plans for the prize money, but jokingly suggested his wife had several.
Baker and Freiburger received cash awards and trophies.
Baker rescued the driver of a minivan which had flipped and caught fire. Freiburger saved a mother and three children from a car which had flipped over and was partially submerged in a creek.