A truck driver who rescued a family of six from a smashed minivan has been named the 30th Goodyear Highway Hero.
Chosen from four finalists, Jason Harte of Rogers, Ark., today accepted the 30th Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. He wins $5,000 and other prizes.
The award marks the 30th anniversary of Goodyear’s program, which honors professional truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.
View an artist’s video reenactment of the incident as Harte describes the event in his own words.
Harte, who works for Missoula, Mont.-based Sammons Trucking, was driving on an interstate last July when he saw a speeding pickup truck push a minivan off the road and slam into another car, pushing it to the highway median.
Bystanders helped the car’s driver while Harte approached the van. He saw a man and woman holding a 6-month-old baby and frantically trying to get out of the vehicle. Harte also noticed that three other children were trapped in the van. He dialed 911, helped the man, woman and baby out of the van, and then rescued the most accessible of the three other children.
Harte, a former paramedic, worked with other bystanders to open the van’s back hatch and performed first aid on the child, then pulled her out through the door. He pulled apart seats and cut seatbelts to rescue the remaining child.
Harte helped rescue crews tend to the victims’ injuries – which ranged from broken legs to internal bleeding – until ambulances arrives.