Highway Hero finalists
Mar 4, 2009 2:54 PM
Jorge Orozco Sanchez of Firestone CO, an owner-operator, was hauling grain October 28, 2008, on Highway 392, north of Greeley, CO. An SUV suddenly crossed the center line and collided head-on into Orozco's tractor-trailer rig. As the vehicles stopped moving, a shaken Orozco Sanchez quickly jumped from his cab and ran to the other vehicle. With flames already beginning to surround the vehicles, he saw two girls, strapped into their car seats and crying, and a woman in the front who was not moving. Working with a passer-by who used a fire extinguisher to fight back the flames, Orozco Sanchez rescued the two girls.
One of the youngsters was extracted quickly, but the fire was growing in intensity and smoke was so thick he had trouble seeing into the vehicle. He was finally able to remove the other girl before the truck's fuel tanks ruptured and burst into flame. The 27-year-old mother died in the crash.
Orozco Sanchez sustained burns on his arms from the rescue and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The fire reduced the cab and the SUV to rubble and damaged the side of a nearby building.
"These five individuals represent the thousands of professional truck drivers that work every day across North America," said Joseph Copeland, vice-president, Goodyear commercial tire systems. "Each year, this program offers an opportunity for recognition of those who put their lives on the line to help others. This year, our honored truck drivers all risked their lives to rescue strangers who were in peril due to fiery accidents. In one case, two young girls were rescued, but their mother perished, and our thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Time after time, truck drivers have emerged as bona fide heroes. When motorists have needed help, they've stopped and put themselves in harm's way."
One of the drivers will be named the 2008 Goodyear North America Highway Hero after journalists from the trucking industry vote on the finalists. The winner will be featured March 19 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville KY at the Truck Writers of North America annual banquet. He will receive a $10,000 US Savings Bond, a plaque, and a specially designed ring. The other finalists will receive a $5,000 US Savings Bond and plaque.
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