Kentucky truck driver given national award for saving local jail - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky truck driver given national award for saving local jailer

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Darrell Herndon (Left) and Clinton Blackburn. Darrell Herndon (Left) and Clinton Blackburn.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They spend long hours on the road doing a job that doesn't come with a lot of attention, but what Clinton Blackburn, Mack Guffey, and David Fredericksen have done is nothing short of heroic and brave.

“I just drive the truck. I ain't no hero in my book,” said Clinton Blackburn.

In March of 2014, Blackburn was driving the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County when he noticed a prisoner transport vehicle in the median.

An inmate was choking the Spencer County Jailer, Darrell Herndon. 

“I had a belly-belt, handcuffs and leg irons on him and somehow he got out of the handcuffs and came through the screen on me and started choking me,” said Darrell Herndon.

The teenager grabbed the jailer's gun, threatening to kill him.

Blackburn stopped and intervene. He was able to get the gun away from the inmate and saved the jailer from harm. 

“He could have got the gun to go off, if would have been a different story. There would have probably been a couple crosses over there,” said Herndon.

On Thursday, he was honored for his actions.

“Thank the Good Lord for putting me where he put me at when he did,” said Clinton Blackburn.

Blackburn was in the running for the national Goodyear Highway Hero Award.

The awards were handed out during the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville.

He was up against two other truck drivers, Mack Guffey and David Fredericksen.

Guffey is a driver from Gainesboro, Tennessee who saw an SUV flip on its side near New York City. The SUV burst into flames and Guffey grabbed his fire extinguisher to help. He grabbed the driver of the SUV and carried him to safety.

Fredericksen is a driver from Windermere, Florida. He was driving near Gulfport, Mississippi when he saw a car crash into a truck and catch fire. He used his fire extinguisher to get to repel the flames. He and other drivers helped to remove the passengers, including a woman and her 1-year-old grandchild.

It was Blackburn's story of saving the Spencer County jailer's life that was selected. Blackburn was named the 32nd Goodyear Highway Hero, received a special ring, a cash prize and a congratulatory crystal.

The other two finalists also received cash prizes, and all three men are considered heroes.

Humble doesn't even begin to describe Blackburn.

“If I didn't get it, that would be just as fine with me as anything,” said Clinton Blackburn.

The jailer he rescued was there to show his support for the man he says saved his life.

“And whether he'd won the Highway Hero or not, I would have still considered him my hero,” said Darrell Herndon.

The two have since become good friends who hunt together, and spend time catching up on the phone.

It's a friendship that all started with Blackburn stopping his truck.

“I figure he's kinda stuck with me now,” said Clinton Blackburn.

“I consider him a good friend because he saved my life,” said Darrell Herndon.

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