Vernon R. Hughes rescued James H. Robertson while he was in a runaway truck, Blue Lake, California, March 20, 1963. Robertson, 34, truckdriver, was descending a steep mountain highway in a loaded dump truck weighing 19 tons when his air brakes failed. He applied the emergency brake, which quickly burned out. Hughes, 28, truckdriver, who was approaching from behind in an empty logging truck, realized that Robertson’s truck was out of control. Increasing his speed, Hughes after driving close behind for more than a mile moved to alongside the runaway truck and motioned for Robertson to jump onto the running board of his truck. Robertson decided not to do so, fearing his truck might then wreck both vehicles. Hughes increased his speed to 70 m.p.h. and moved ahead of the runaway truck, which at that time was traveling at 65 m.p.h. Watching in his mirrors, Hughes decreased his speed and allowed the runaway vehicle to strike the rear of the logging truck. A rear projection in the center of the logging truck’s frame pierced the radiator of the runaway vehicle. Hughes then applied and released his brakes alternately. Both trucks began to slow, but the dump truck moved in surges, which raised the rear of the logging truck. Each time it did so, causing the logging truck to lose its braking power and traction, Robertson carefully steered the dump truck and thus guided both vehicles. The trucks traveled together for a quarter of a mile down the slope before Hughes was able to stop them not far from a very dangerous section of the highway.
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