Olympia WA truck driver is chosen Highway Hero

The 28th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero is an Olympia WA truck driver who helped save the lives of two people in a car that had come to a stop on railroad tracks, including pulling the unconscious driver from his car before it 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 US Savings Bond during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville KY.

Just after noon October 27, 2010, Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare CA when a vehicle appeared to lose control and cross traffic, leaving the highway and finally coming to a stop with its front wheels lodged over railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl stopped his truck to check on the car and noticed a train was coming. An elderly woman exited the passenger side of the car, and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. He then noticed the driver was unconscious and trapped inside. At first, the door couldn’t be opened, but Curl was able to squeeze his arm inside and unlock it. Working quickly, he managed to unfasten the man’s seatbelt and drag him out of the car and away from the area just 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.

Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America.

Curl was selected along with three other truck drivers as finalists for the 2010 award. Other finalists were:

•Jaime Avitia, of El Paso TX, a driver for Stagecoach Cartage.

•Bill Howard, of Litchfield NE, a driver for Howard Transportation.

•David Nelson, of Orlando FL, a driver for Werner Enterprises.

Go to www.goodyear.com/truck/news/hero.html to nominate a professional truck driver for the 2011 Goodyear Highway Hero Award.

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