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Hero’s Actions Rewarded

Hero’s Actions Rewarded

An act of humanity credited with saving the life of a young Rotorua man has earned Rotorua truck driver Glenn Ruebe the 2002 Beaurepaires Highway Heroes Award.

He was one of ten nominations made by members of the public, emergency services personnel and transport industry employees during 2002 who recognised professional truck, bus or coach drivers for their acts of humanity, bravery or heroism over the past 12 months.

Glenn was presented with his award by the Minister of Transport, Hon. Paul Swain at a small ceremony in Wellington today.

Glenn, a volunteer fireman, stopped to investigate car headlights that were about 100 metres down from the road and noticed by a truck in front. He called the emergency services as he went down the bank and discovered that the lights belonged to a car that had skidded backwards over a 70 metre bluff.

The car was empty and the engine running. He found one badly injured young man nearby whom he assisted until the emergency services arrived and then later discovered the body of another occupant who turned out to be an former school friend. His actions are credited with saving the injured man’s life.

The Award, which has been running for four years, was established by the NZ Police in association with the Land Transport Safety Authority and is sponsored by Beaurepaires and supported by NZ Trucking magazine.

“The Police were keen to recognise the contribution heavy truck drivers make to road safety and we were keen to assist,” Wayne Johnston, general manager of Beaurepaires said.

“There was a range of nominations this year that highlighted the responsible and caring attitude commercial drivers show toward other road users. For example, one nominee stopped his truck on the centre lane of the Auckland motorway in the rush hour to protect an old lady whose car had broken down.

“In another case a driver stopped his fully laden truck while climbing the Kaimais to assist a group of ladies whose car had lost its clutch. He towed them to the top of the hill to a safe location off the road from where they could seek assistance. They had sat there for 20 minutes while the traffic went by.

“In a third incident a driver manoeuvred his Kenworth between two spinning vehicles that had collided on the wet road in front of him, avoiding both and then assisting the victims,” Wayne said.

“I am sure we only receive reports on a fraction of the incidents but this award goes some way to recognising some real unsung heroes.”

Glenn Ruebe received a cheque for $5000 and a trophy while Peter Harmon, the father of the young man who’s life Glenn saved and who nominated him, receives a free set of car tyres from Beaurepaires.

For 45 minutes Kevin kept Jason’s head up to prevent him choking on his own blood, almost certainly saving his life. While holding the man’s head with one hand, he held the victim’s mothers hand with his other, comforting and reassuring both. Eventually, he was relieved of his duties by a fireman, who took over until Jason was released and cut out of the wreckage.

While Kevin was attempting to keep Jason alive, he reckons his wife Naomi, who always travels with him on his night missions, was doing just as important a job in keeping him alive. After running back to the truck and alerting the emergency service, she grabbed a torch, ran up the road and waved traffic down as Kevin, Jason, his mother, and the woman in the other wreck were all in great peril from on-coming traffic.

After being relieved by the emergency services, Kevin and Naomi jumped back into their Nissan B-train and completed their shift.

Passing back through the accident site on the way home was an emotional time for both of them, as was the rest of the run home.

The following morning Kevin visited the young man in hospital, who recognised Kevin’s voice. The two have since become good friends.

“Anyone would have done what I did”, said Kevin, shrugging off his role in the drama, but there’s no doubt that great driving skills, coolness under difficult circumstances, and putting himself at risk to help another certainly qualified Kevin as a Highway Hero.

Police said the woman in the wreck that he avoided would also have certainly died if he hadn’t been able to execute a heroic piece of driving.

© Scoop Media

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