Warkworth driver wins Highway Hero Award
Warkworth driver and road constructor wins Highway Hero Award
According to Warkworth driver Tom Mitchell he was “just in the right place at the right time” when he saved the life of a crash victim. Despite Tom’s modest description of events, his actions were deemed nothing less than heroic by judges of the supreme 2010 Beaurepaires Highway Heroes Award, awarded to the driver in Wellington today.
Tom was travelling on SH1 near Warkworth with his manager Mark Logan when they saw a car cross the centre line and plough head on into a tree. Recognising that the female driver’s injuries were obstructing her airway, Tom climbed into the car and supported her head so she could breathe until paramedics arrived.
Later that day, the Head of Auckland Hospital’s trauma unit called to tell Tom that his actions almost certainly saved the woman’s life.
Presenting the Beaurepaires Highway Heroes trophy, a cheque for $5000 and 5000 Fly Buys points to Tom, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said, ”Tom had done what all of us hope we would do in a similar situation, and I congratulate you on the actions you took.”
“I honestly don’t feel as though I am a hero,” Tom said. “Being a paramedic for 16 years it just came naturally. When I did learn the extent of the lady’s injuries, it hit me that if I wasn’t there, she would no longer be with us. I’m just happy to have been there to help.”
Tom works for Transfield Services as a driver/foreman and was selected from eight nominees for this year’s award which recognises acts of bravery, heroism or humanity performed by professional truck, bus and coach drivers in the course of their work.
The award’s four judges, representatives from programme supporters Goodyear & Dunlop NZ Ltd, NZ Police, NZ Transport Authority and Fairfax NZ, found the choice for this year’s winner extremely difficult.
This year’s nominees were of a high calibre and included two highly publicised cases: Otaki’s Amiria Maihi, who steered an eighteen-wheeler safely to a stop on a busy State Highway One when her uncle was knocked unconscious by a passing unsecured load, and Rotorua’s Shamos Hunter who was first-on-the-scene at an accident between Rotorua and Taupo where 12 teenagers were strewn across the highway.
The Beaurepaires Highway Heroes Award is open to any professional truck, bus or coach driver who performs brave, heroic or humanitarian acts in the course of their work. Heroes can be nominated by anyone through any Beaurepaires store or local police station or at www.highway-heroes.co.nz