Victorian truck driver Renzo Bruschi has been named the latest recipient of the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award, in recognition of his bravery during a tragic multi-vehicle collision earlier this year that claimed the life of one motorist at the scene of the crash.
The morning of May 24 started out just like any other for Renzo, who has been a truck driver for more than 30 years. That all changed when a petrol tanker carrying 60,000 litres of fuel rolled over on the Calder Freeway.
Renzo’s truck was one of around 10 vehicles involved in the crash. Renzo jumped out of his truck and into action without hesitation, running over to assist the driver of the tanker who was calling for help.
The 52-year-old said, “There was fuel and smoke everywhere; I just thought it was not a question of if this was going to blow but more a question of when, so I just sprang into action to help get him out as soon as possible before something happened.”
“The tanker was on its side and I initially tried to break the windscreen, and it shattered – but didn’t break, so I had to climb up and pull him out through the door which was facing skyward.”
After assisting the tanker driver, Renzo turned his attention to an overturned car which had ended up in the gutter and had fuel running through it.
He crawled through the back passenger door and helped the extremely traumatised driver from her vehicle and led her away from the scene. “I just did not stop to think at that point, I just did all I could to help,” he said.
I went to the other vehicle which was crushed to see if I could help but unfortunately that person was already deceased.
“I hope something like this never happens again, but if I did, I know I’d do the same all over again,” Renzo said.
Renzo was presented with the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award at the Castrol Awards Dinner during the Technical and Maintenance Conference held in Melbourne on October 25.
The award honours the great community service performed by professional truck drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty to assist those around them during the course of their regular work.
“Renzo’s actions say a great deal about the kind of person he is. In his mind, putting other people’s lives before his own wasn’t a unique or special act – it was just something he had to do,” said Andrew Moffatt, Bridgestone Australia, and New Zealand Managing Director.
“To the community, and specifically those he helped that day, Renzo heroism is without question and we are extremely proud to call him our latest guardian of the road.”