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Invercargill driver wins 2011 Highway Hero award

23 November 2011

Invercargill driver wins 2011 Highway Hero award

Invercargill truck driver Les MacIntosh says he was just doing “what anyone else would do” when he saved a two-year-old girl from a burning car in south Otago.

Les’ actions were deemed by judges the ‘most heroic’ of six 2011 nominees and he was awarded the supreme annual Beaurepaires Highway Hero award in Wellington today.

“Aw crikey! This is a bit of a shock!” Les said. “It’s something that you’d hope anyone would do in that situation. But to receive this award, it’s just mind blowing. Thank you very, very, very much.”

In March, Les was travelling north towards Dunedin on State Highway 1. He saw a large fireball in the distance and, upon arriving at the scene of an accident involving a station wagon and truck, stopped and pulled young Abigail Coulter from the burning vehicle. Les held Abigail, who had a broken arm and some cuts, until ambulance services arrived.

Abigail’s mother and sister, Phillipa Manning and Rebecca Coulter, passed away at the scene.

After initially wishing to remain anonymous, the then Northern Southland Transport driver came to terms with the tragic event and was encouraged by colleagues to come forward and accept the nomination.

Today, NZ Police national roading manager Superintendent Paula Rose saluted Les when she presented him with the Beaurepaires Highway Heroes trophy, a cheque for $5000 and 5000 Fly Buys points.

“When the rubber hits the road you find out who has what it takes,” Superintendent Rose said. “Who has that will inside, who has that ability to, in a split-second, make some life-saving decisions. If I’m ever around in need, I hope you’re the person standing there in that situation because we need heroes.

“I do thank you, Les, for taking that moment to act and not just to think about it. Many people are called and many are found wanting. You were called and you were not, you stood up and for that, New Zealanders are very appreciative. So thank you very much. Les MacIntosh, I salute you.”

Representatives from programme supporters Goodyear & Dunlop NZ Ltd, NZ Police, NZ Transport Authority and Fairfax NZ judged 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.

“Commercial drivers are guardians of our roads and while they’re often viewed negatively by other motorists, every year we hear many stories of their bravery and heroism,” said Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres (NZ) national sales manager – commercial, Nigel Walsh. “It’s a huge honour for Beaurepaires to be able to recognise the actions of Les and all the other Highway Hero nominees and winners.”

This year’s nominees were of a high calibre and included two drivers from Invercargill and one each from Ashburton, Feilding, Te Kauwhata and Tauranga.

The 2012 Beaurepaires Highway Heroes award is now open. Heroes can be nominated by anyone through any Beaurepaires store, local Police station or online at www.highway-heroes.co.nz.

Full audio of the presentation: click to download

About Beaurepaires
Beaurepaires is one of New Zealand's leading retailer of tyres, wheels, batteries and wheel alignment servicing. We have 95 stores operating around New Zealand, so there's bound to be a store near you. We service all types of tyres from wheelbarrows, trailers, cars, vans, 4x4s to large line haul trucks, buses and coaches, earthmovers, forklifts, container carriers.. anything that runs on rubber.

All our stores are equipped with modern tyre-changing equipment and wheel alignment machines. We carry a full range of tyres, with a wide selection of brands and our highly skilled staff are well trained (including many who are certified to National Certificate in Tyre Servicing level) to provide advice to drivers on the most appropriate tyres for their vehicle. We pride ourselves on our level of service and our ISO 9001:2000 quality assurance accreditation. For more information about Beaurepaires and its products and services, please visit www.beaurepaires.co.nz


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