Goodyear Names Washington Truck Driver Highway Hero

By Truckinginfo Staff

The 28th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero is an Olympia, Wash. truck driver who helped save the lives of two people in a car moments before their vehicle, which was lodged on the railroad tracks, was struck by an approaching train.

From among four finalists, Tilden Curl accepted the 2010 Goodyear North America Highway Hero award and a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond during the Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday evening.

In October 2010, Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when he saw a vehicle lose control and leave the highway, coming to a stop on the railroad tracks. As Curl ran to check on the car, he noticed a train was coming. After seeing an elderly woman passenger to safety, he freed the unconscious driver who was trapped inside the car, and pulled him to safety seconds before the train collided with the stranded vehicle.

“We are grateful to Tilden Curl for his quick thinking and brave actions, which ultimately led two strangers to safety. This is a clear example of the selflessness and professionalism of many of today’s professional truck drivers, who are out on our highways every day to deliver the goods and services upon which we all depend,” said Joseph Copeland, Goodyear’s vice president of commercial tire systems.

In accepting his award at the Truck Writers of North America banquet in Louisville on Thursday evening, Curl said that after people began referring to him as a hero for his action, he began to ponder the implications of heroism.

“To me, a hero is someone who makes a positive difference in someone’s life, so I guess it’s fair to call what I did heroic,” he said. “I still can’t think of myself as a hero in traditional terms, but I’m grateful for the award and glad I was able to help.”

Other finalists for the 2011 award included:

In August 2010, Jaime Avitia, of El Paso, Texas, a driver for Stagecoach Cartage, witnessed a speeding pickup truck leave the roadway and hit a concrete drainage culvert on I-10 near Laredo, Texas. By administering CPR, he revived the driver, who had been thrown into the back seat of his crew-cab pickup, and provided comfort and first aid until paramedics arrived.

In May 2010, Bill Howard, of Litchfield, Neb., a driver for Howard Transportation, was driving on Highway 2 near Ravenna, Neb. when his truck was struck by a fatigued female driver who had drifted across the centre line. She sustained life-threatening injuries in the crash, but was aided and comforted by Howard until help arrived.

In February 2010, David Nelson, of Orlando, Fla. was flagged down by a woman who had lost control of her vehicle and hit a road sign. His quick actions and EMT training saved the life of the woman’s seven-year-old daughter who and had experienced trauma during the accident.

“Each of these finalists is a true Highway Hero, and their efforts to help others should be applauded,” Copeland said following the announcement.

To nominate a professional truck driver for the 2011 Goodyear Highway Hero Award, go to www.goodyear.com/truck/news/hero.html. An independent judging panel reviews the nominations and helps select the honorees.

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