East Texas Trucker Named "Highway Hero" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/19/05-Diana

East Texas Trucker Named "Highway Hero"

His courage and quick actions have been recognized, nationally. Last July, Rick Dent of Diana was driving his 18 wheeler on his route along a rural road outside Jena, Louisiana. He saw a car in front him veer off the road and plunge into a ditch filled with water. Two small children and their father were inside.

"I just reached in grabbed the door, put my foot against the door and jerked it open. I jerked it off the hinges," recalls Rick.

Two children were inside, ages 3 and 5, along with their father. His foot was stuck. "So he handed me the 2 kids. The little girl was hysterical," says Rick.

Rick then went back for their father. Once everyone was okay, Rick also paid for the wrecker. He left, thinking that would be it. But a few weeks later his boss handed him a letter. "I started reading the letter and it really surprised me." That letter from the accident victim got Rick nominated for the Highway Hero award through Goodyear Tires. He won.

"There were a lot of photographs, a lot of newspaper interviews and live Sirius radio interview that I was a little bit nervous about."

Rick is still bewildered by the attention he's received. "I felt like it was a good deed and I didn't need to be repaid for the good deed."

Rick Dent, now known as the Highway Hero.

Besides a plaque, Rick was given a ring with the words "Highway Hero" inscribed on it. He also received a $10,000 savings bond. Plus, the Oprah and Ellen shows are both interested in having Rick on their programs in the future.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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