J.B. Hunt driver Andrew Waits of Tacoma, Wash., was named Goodyear’s 2022 Highway Hero at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings of the American Trucking Associations.
Waits was driving along I-405 in Washington last year when he witnessed a motorcyclist get struck by a car. He positioned his truck so that the injured motorcyclist wouldn’t be run over, and then Waits, who is also a volunteer firefighter, rushed to his aid.
He stayed on the scene and protected the motorcyclist until first responders arrived.
Waits’ boss, Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt, said Waits called him after the incident to let him know he was running behind. It wasn’t until later he learned about Waits’ heroism.
“He apologized for being delayed,” Hobbs said during the presentation. “He wasn’t boastful. He truly thought he did what he did because it needed to be done.”
Waits said he couldn’t believe he was selected as winner among the finalists. “I thought my Bluetooth had gone out,” he said of receiving the call notifying him he was the Highway Hero. “There are lots of heroes on the road every day. I don’t consider myself one.”
Goodyear presented Waits with a cheque for US$1,000, a set of tires for his personal vehicle, a TV and other prizes. But the greatest honor, said Waits, was hearing his father say he’s proud of him.
“Growing up, I didn’t hear that a lot. That meant a lot to me, hearing that from my dad,” he said.
Runners-up were Barry Jenkins of Burlington, N.J., and Robert Windsor of Norman, Okla. It was the 38th year Goodyear named a Highway Hero. The competition is open to professional truck drivers in the U.S. and Canada.