Trucker saves a life

Quick re­ac­tions

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ZOE GE­ORGE

A quick act­ing truck driver has been hailed a hero af­ter res­cu­ing a 16- month- old boy who wan­dered onto State High­way 1.

Fast­way Courier’s line­haul driver Den­nis Rod­er­ick was driv­ing his 20- me­tre B- train truck south along Mana Es­planade on Fe­bru­ary 29 when he spot­ted a child in the mid­dle of the road. He braked hard, stop­ping about 3.5 me­tres from the boy.

Mr Rod­er­ick blocked the lanes to pre­vent other traf­fic get­ting through, jumped out of his cab, picked the child up and whisked him to safety.

It was a huge shock to see a lit­tle boy in front of his truck, he said. ‘‘I just couldn’t be­lieve my eyes that there was a lit­tle fel­low on the road. He stopped in the mid­dle of the road and just looked up at me with this ‘please don’t run me over’ look.’’

Af­ter get­ting the boy to safety, Mr Rod­er­ick looked around for his par­ents. A woman emerged from a res­i­dence look­ing for the boy and was shocked to dis­cover he had es­caped onto the road.

‘‘She was in shock. I was in a bit of shock too,’’ Mr Rod­er­ick said.

Mr Rod­er­ick said the lit­tle boy, who was wear­ing just a nappy and sin­glet, had fig­ured out how to open the gate on the prop­erty and man­aged to es­cape. When the par­ents called him af­ter­wards he spoke with them about the im­por­tance of child-proof locks.

Af­ter hand­ing the child back to his fam­ily, Mr Rod­er­ick re­turned to work in Welling­ton, un­aware news of his act had spread through the com­pany.

‘‘I got phone calls from the par­ents to thank me and then from the bosses here,’’ he said.

He has been hailed a hero by Fast­way staff and the boy’s par­ents.

‘‘I don’t feel like a hero. Ev­ery­one keeps telling me I am. I’m just glad that I was able to stop and pre­vent him from get­ting hurt. I think any­one would have done it.’’

Fast­way chief ex­ec­u­tive Bruce Speers said Rod­er­ick will be com­mended by the com­pany for his ac­tions.

‘‘It’s a re­mark­able story and Den­nis is by far our star of the month,’’ he said.

‘‘I’d like to cel­e­brate Den­nis’ act of brav­ery and thank him for avert­ing what could have been a ter­ri­ble tragedy.’’

High­way hero: Den­nis Rod­er­ick in front of the truck he was driv­ing when a tod­dler ran onto Mana Es­planade.

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