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Victorian truck driver Matthew Mitchell has been announced as the latest recipient of the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award – acknowledging his compassionate efforts to comfort a fatally wounded motorist after a car crash in Pakenham earlier this year.
Matthew was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of the crash, which involved a ute and a small car. After checking on the passengers in the first vehicle, he walked to the second vehicle to see if help was needed. It was there that he discovered the driver slumped over the steering wheel.
“I couldn’t get the door to open, so I reached in and wound the window down. I tried to feel for a pulse, and tried to get the lady to respond. I couldn’t be sure, but I felt like there was maybe something there, so I told her to just hang on, help’s coming,” Mr Mitchell said.
“The emergency services over the phone asked if we could get her out, but we couldn’t, so they told us to just lay her down. I was holding her head and telling her to wake up, squeeze my hand.”
Tragically, when the paramedics arrived they delivered the sad news – confirming she had passed away.
“I got out, walked away, and burst into tears,” Mr Mitchell said.
The Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award honours the great community service performed by professional truck drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty to assist those around them during the course of their normal work.
Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Andrew Moffatt said Matthew’s actions showed a man of true character.
“Matthew found himself in an extremely difficult and stressful situation,” Mr Moffatt said.
“Not only did he act calmly and rationally to reduce the danger of the situation, including having the foresight to disconnect the car battery, he also acted with great kindness and compassion.
“This was a tragic incident and we all wish there had been a different outcome. It is a sad but clear reminder of the importance of road safety. It also reinforces the value of this award which is all about highlighting the great work many truck drivers are doing every day to make the road a safer place.”
Potential Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian candidates can be brought to the Australian Trucking Association’s attention at any time via email.
Find out more information about the award here.