Goodyear names Schiotis latest Highway Hero

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has named its 29th North America Highway Hero: a Tennessee-based truck driver who rescued a woman from a gun-wielding attacker.

Chosen from among four finalists, Mike Schiotis of Spring Hill TN accepted the 2011 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award during the Mid-America Trucking Show, which took place in Louisville KY recently.

Schiotis, who works for Seville OH-based Panther Expedited Services Inc, was driving to his Pennsylvania destination Nov 1, 2011, when he saw a woman walking with a man close behind her. Thinking they were injured, he slowed down and noticed the man was pointing a gun at the woman. Schiotis stopped his truck, and the woman began pounding on his door, screaming “Help me! He’s going to kill me!” Schiotis jumped out of his truck and positioned himself between the woman, who was bleeding from the head, and her assailant. He helped the woman into his rig and decided to take her to the next truckstop.

The gun-carrying man got back in his car and began to follow Schiotis’ truck. Schiotis pulled into a truckstop, but decided it was safer to continue down the highway. Meanwhile, he notified the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, then used his CB radio to tell other truckers in the area about what was transpiring. Another truck driver, who was behind Schiotis’ 18-wheeler, heard him and took action. Together, they drove side-by-side, weaving back and forth to prevent the gunman from closing in on Schiotis’ tractor. This gave troopers time to catch up with the man and apprehend him.

“We are grateful to Mike Schiotis for his quick thinking and brave actions,” said Phillip Kane, vice-president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “He literally put himself ‘in the line of fire,’ and in all probability, prevented a tragedy from taking place. Mike’s decision to interject himself into this dangerous situation is a powerful example of the selflessness and professionalism exhibited by many of today’s professional truck drivers. Because of his action, a life was saved. For this, Mike Schiotis has earned the right to be called a hero.”

Schiotis and three other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 2011 North America Highway Hero Award. Other finalists were:

•John Crozman of Black Hawk SD, a driver for Long Haul Trucking in Albertville MN.

•Melville Farnell of Shelburne, Ontario, Canada, a driver for Tupling Farms Produce Inc, also based in Shelburne.

•John Neumeier of Russia OH, a driver for Bohman Trucking, also based in Russia.

To nominate a driver for the 2012 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, click here. An independent panel of judges will review nominations and help select next year’s honorees.

For more details, visit www.goodyeartrucktires.com.

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