Highway Hero finalists defy danger
Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM
The finalists for Goodyear's 25th annual North America Highway Hero Award, honoring truckers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in performing heroic rescues or outstanding acts of humanitarianism, have been announced. They are Richard Filiczkowski of Bountiful UT; Rick Tower of Yreka CA; the late David Glenn Virgoe of Innisfil, Ontario, Canada; and Ronnie D. Greene of Regina NM.
Filiczkowski, a CR England driver, saved the life of an eight-year-old girl after her father accidentally drove his car into a pond April 26, 2007 along Interstate 90 near Plankinton SD. Filiczkowski's wife, Janet, was driving the rig when she saw the one-car accident. She alerted her husband who was resting in the sleeper.
Running a quarter-mile to the scene, he along with two other men, entered the eight-foot-deep pond and worked to open the doors and pull out the girl. They struggled to free the unresponsive father, whose legs were lodged under the steering column. After about 10 minutes, Filiczkowski finally pulled the man from the car and swam to shore, but it was too late. The man had died.
Tower, a driver for Earl Bryant Trucking, was heading home September 19, 2007 on Highway 96 near Horse Creek CA when a westbound car left the roadway and landed in the swift Klamath River. Tower ran from his rig down to the river, where he saw the car moving downstream with an 82-year-old woman inside screaming for help.
He jumped into the river, swam to the car and eventually got the woman out and to shore. She only suffered a broken ankle and slight hypothermia.
Virgoe, a driver for Wilburn Archer Trucking, swerved his empty tanker truck to avoid three street-racing cars weaving in and out of traffic June 18, 2007 on Highway 400 near Bradford, Ontario. Rather than allowing his truck to slam into oncoming traffic across the median, he made a split-second decision, swerving to the right, crossing the highway, and driving into a ditch alongside the road.
He died before he could be transported to a hospital. Virgoe is survived by his wife Debbie, three children, and five grandchildren.
Greene, a driver for A Passmore & Sons of Altus OK, was en route April 27, 2997 to Albuquerque on US 84 near Espanola NM when he saw a pregnant woman attacked and run over by a pickup truck driven by her boyfriend. A former firefighter and paramedic, Greene ran to the injured woman and helped her to her feet while her boyfriend tried three times to run them over.
On the final attempt, the pickup struck and killed a man who had left his vehicle to help. Greene placed the woman in his truck and went to help the man after the pickup truck sped away.
One of these drivers will be named the 2007 North American Highway Hero. That announcement will be made at the Truck Writers of North America annual banquet during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville KY in late March.
Refrigerated Transporter's editor-in-chief David A Kolman will be the master of ceremonies for the banquet.
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