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Driver’s quick thinking earns hero award


Media Release

Monday, 1 December 2008


Driver’s quick thinking earns hero award

Quick action and lack of concern for his own well-being won Gerald Phillips the 2008 Beaurepaires Highway Heroes Award.

He was presented with a trophy and cheque for $5,000 at National Police Headquarters today by Superintendent Paula Rose, the New Zealand Police National Manager of Road Policing.

He was nominated in November for the award, which is sponsored by New Zealand Police, Beaurepaires, NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and NZ Trucking Magazine, after jumping into an icy Dunedin harbour mid-winter to save a fellow motorist.

Gerald was taking a load of pallets into Dunedin from Port Otago when a white people mover coming towards his line of traffic veered across the centre line into the path of a car in front of him.

The driver of the car swung to the left, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision but rolling over the edge of the causeway and into the harbour.

Gerald braked as quickly as he could in the wet conditions and went to the aid of the driver, whose car was upside down in the water. He was able to wrench the door open and pull the driver, who resurfaced in the backseat, out of the car to safety.

He was one of six nominees for this year’s award, all of whom have carried out humanitarian, brave or heroic acts during the course of their work. Others were truck drivers Ted Collins of Hamliton, Aaron Uhlenberg of Hamilton, Nigel Frost of Rotorua, Craig Bushett of Whangarei and Mike Willoughby of Rotorua.

Now in its ninth year, the Beaurepaires Highway Heroes programme recognises brave, heroic or humanitarian deeds performed by professional truck or bus drivers in the course of their work. Anyone can nominate a hero through www.highway-heroes.co.nz or highway-heroes@xtra.co.nz.

ENDS

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