The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has named Ivan Vasovic of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., its 31st Goodyear Highway Hero.
Vasovic , a truck driver, rescued another trucker who had fallen from a burning tanker truck that was hanging over the side of a freeway overpass.
Goodyear presented Vasovic with the award at the Mid-America Trucking Show, which is taking place this week in Louisville, Ky.
Vasovic was in his truck in Los Angeles, Calif., last October when he witnessed a double tanker truck hit the concrete divider of a freeway overpass, careen off a wall and slam into a guard rail. Its tanks, which were full of diesel, ripped open and the truck came to a stop with its tractor and first tanker hanging over the side of the overpass.
The truck’s driver was trapped inside when the diesel ignited. The driver, now on fire, kicked out a window, slid down the truck and fell to the ground, breaking an arm and leg. By that point, the suspended truck was engulfed in flames with black clouds of smoke billowing from it.
Vasovic and another bystander tried to pull the injured driver to safety. However, due to the intense heat, they could only drag him a few yards at a time. Vasovic dashed back to his truck and poured water on himself, which enabled him to drag the badly injured driver 20 yards away from his original position. Moments later, the burning truck crashed to the ground.
“Ivan’s quick thinking and brave actions saved a fellow truck driver from a life-threatening situation,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “He literally put himself in harm’s way to save another person’s life. Ivan’s decision to interject himself into this deadly scenario is a powerful example of the selflessness exhibited by professional truck drivers. He has earned the right to be called a Highway Hero.”
As the 31st Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Vasovic receives a special Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 prize and other items.
Vasovic and three other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 31st Goodyear Highway Hero Award.
For more information about the Goodyear Highway Hero Award and to read about past Highway Hero Award winners, click here.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.