Gary Medalis (left), Goodyear marketing director, congratulates the 2018 Highway Hero Award winner, Frank Vieira of Hamilton, Ont.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — What does one say after saving one life and preventing severe injury to another? “I’m just happy I was in the right place at the right time,” said Frank Vieira of Ancaster, Ont., who drives for Connell Transport.
Vieira was chosen from three finalists for the 35th Goodyear Highway Hero Award, accepting it during a special event held Louisville, Ky.
Vieira was driving over a bridge on a rural highway 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. The force of the impact threw the driver forcefully against the steering wheel. The steering wheel broke, with a piece of it embedding itself in the driver’s neck.
After parking his truck, he got out to see if he could do anything to help and found the driver bleeding profusely from the neck. He applied pressure to the wound to staunch the bleeding and proceeded to call 9-1-1 with his free hand, and then things got a bit more complicated.
The driver of the roll-off truck had come back to see what was happening. Seeing the badly wounded driver of the SUV he promptly fainted, dropping to the pavement and partially onto the open lane beside the crash. One of his legs was exposed to the oncoming traffic.
“I hooked my right leg over his leg and pulled it closer to me and clear of the lane of traffic while I was holding the other driver’s neck and talking on the phone with the fire department,” Vieira says.
Emergency personnel arrived and transported both men to the hospital. They survived.
“Since 1983, the Goodyear Highway Hero Award has honored truck drivers who have rescued children from drowning, pulled injured people from burning vehicles, saved law enforcement officials from attackers and
more,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear. “Every truck driver we’ve met through the Goodyear Highway Hero Award program has been just that: a hero. And today, we are proud to add Frank Vieira to that list.”
As the Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Vieira receives a special Highway Hero ring, a cash prize and other items. Vieira and two other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 35th Goodyear Highway Hero Award. They are:
Brian Bucenell, a driver from Richmond, Va. 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 trooper pursuit vehicles
chasing a car, which was rapidly heading his way. Bucenell’s truck suddenly entered a construction zone and was forced to merge from three lanes to two lanes. The speeding car tried to pass his 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.
Ryan Moody, a driver from Tacoma, Wash. Moody was driving down a busy Chicago freeway when a motorcyclist swerved and crashed in front of his truck. With no time to spare, Moody skillfully 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 own shirt around the badly injured motorcyclist’s head to prevent further blood loss, while simultaneously 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.
The Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner was selected by an independent panel consisting of members of the trucking trade press.
“We are proud of not only Frank, but of Brian and Ryan, as well,” said Medalis. “Each is a hero in his own right and a credit to his profession.”