Highway Hero saves one of his own
May 1, 2006 12:00 PM
Leesburg GA truck driver Herman Langford has rescued plenty of motorists from wrecked or overturned vehicles in his 30-year career.
But when he needed help in a fiery three-truck accident August 25 near Atlanta GA, it was another trucker, Douglas Crawford of Ashford AL, who helped save his life.
Crawford, a driver for Saia Motor Freight Lines Inc, has been named the 23rd Goodyear North America Highway Hero. Langford said Crawford deserved the award for helping him to cheat death.
Traveling southbound on Interstate 85 in Coweta County, Georgia, Crawford said he watched the accident unfold. What he didn't see was a hit-and-run truck driver allegedly rear-end a Roadway truck, causing the driver to lose control and cross the grass median into the northbound lanes.
According to police reports, the Roadway 18-wheeler collided with Langford's Sexton Farms Trucking tractor-trailer. Both tractors exploded into flames. Dodging out-of-control cars trying to avoid the accident, Crawford immediately parked on the highway shoulder and ran across the median.
The cab of the runaway truck had disintegrated in the fire. Crawford ran to the Sexton Farms tractor-trailer, which was burning in the ditch. He sprayed his extinguisher on the blaze and found Langford conscious but unable to move.
Since the back wall of the sleeper unit was destroyed, Crawford was able to walk into the tractor where Langford was covered in diesel fuel. Crawford told Langford to wrap his arms around his neck, and he pulled him from the truck to a safe area in the ditch. Moments later, the tractor exploded. A nurse stopped to help administer first aid until paramedics arrived. Langford was airlifted to the hospital.
Crawford said he still keeps in contact with Langford, who is recovering from multiple injuries. The hit-and-run driver called police when he reached his destination and admitted his role in the accident. He was later arrested.
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