Trucker saves a life
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.