A trucker who saved a Pennsylvania woman’s life has been honored by the Open Road Foundation with its Hero of the Highway Award.
Mike Schiotis, an independent contractor working for Panther Expedited Services, noticed two cars pulled to the side of the road along Interstate 380 in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1. Spotting a woman waving her hands, Schiotis suspected there might be injuries related to an accident, so he pulled his rig over to offer assistance.
Once stopped, Schiotis saw a man walking towards the woman and pointing a gun. The woman banged on the cab’s door. According to police reports, her attacker then followed after her, allegedly striking the victim with a gun. Schiotis jumped out of his truck and separated the woman from the attacker, according to reports.
The woman proceeded to jump into Schiotis’ rig and he quickly followed, Open Road said, leaving the scene immediately with the woman in the cab. Calling 911, Schiotis was instructed to drive to a nearby truck stop, although the suspect, Elvino Cagnardi, followed. Schiotis made the decision to return to the Interstate, where he teamed up with another unidentified trucker to create a moving roadblock until police arrived.
Cagnardi was taken into custody and charged with attempted homicide.
“What Mike did was a true act of courage and valor,” said Andrew Clarke, president & CEO of Panther. “We are extremely proud that such an act of heroism came from a member of the Panther family.”
Schiotis has been driving for Panther for two years.
This is just the fourth Hero of the Highway award presented by Open Road since its founding, and first this year. Schiotis received a $500 cash award and a custom watch for his heroics.
The Open Road Foundation is a non-profit organization which provides victim assistance and supports educational and career development programs for the employees and professional independent contractor drivers of the transportation and logistics companies operating in the United States and Canada. The foundation was created by Fenway Partners in 2008.