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Coloradan Honored by DOT For Truck Crash Rescue

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Coloradan Honored by DOT For Truck Crash Rescue

Federal Highway Administration
January 6, 1998

Tuesday, January 6, 1998
Contact: Stan Hamilton
Telephone: (202) 366-0665
FHWA 1-98

For a daring rescue of two persons from a burning overturned gasoline tank truck at great risk to himself, Duane Robitaille of Granby, Colo., today was presented the Department of Transportation Award for Heroism.

Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle presented the award -- a bronze medal and an engraved plaque -- at a ceremony at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington.

"Mr. Robitaille’s extremely brave, spontaneous act was in the best American tradition of going to the aid of others," Wykle said. "In putting his own life in grave danger, Mr. Robitaille earned the gratitude not only of those he saved but of all of us involved in safety on the highways."

Robitaille, now 33, was driving near Berthoud Falls, Colo., about 50 miles west of Denver, just before daylight June 22, 1996, when he came upon the cargo tank engulfed in flames. The driver and a passenger were trapped inside, calling for help. Robitaille twice ran through the flames to extricate and drag them to safety. All three suffered minor injuries. The vehicle was destroyed by fire and a subsequent explosion, as were a nearby house and automobile.

Investigating officers were of the opinion that the truck driver and passenger would not have survived had Robitaille not been on the scene.

The award for heroism recognizes extraordinary individual acts of heroism endangering the honoree’s life in an attempt to save a life or to prevent a wreck, disaster or grave accident in any mode of transportation.


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