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Trucker Honored as Hero at Spokane Safety Conference

Big rig truck drivers are accustomed to getting the stink-eye and rude gestures from other drivers on the freeway, but one Washington long-haul driver is getting much nicer recognition in Spokane. He's being hailed as a genuine hero by the state.

Jason Lucas, who works for Swift Transportation in Newport, is credited with protecting and assisting a woman who crashed head-long into a deer on I-90 near Spokane last May - probably even saving her life. It was morning rush hour - heavy traffic streaming into Spokane - when Ramona Sheppard noticed Lucas's big truck slowing.

But she couldn't see why, until suddenly a buck deer appeared right in front of her. The air bags in her car went off, the engine quit and Sheppard was unable to see as she tried to steer her disabled car to the highway shoulder. 

But Lucas saw what had happened, so he whipped his truck behind Sheppard's car and turned on his flashers to warn heavy, high speed traffic coming up fast. He jumped from the truck, got Sheppard out of her car, managed to turn off her blaring horn, and stayed with her until help arrived.

Sheppard's certain she would have been hit from behind and seriously injured or even killed if Lucas had not used his big rig to shield her. For his quick action, Lucas is being honored with the Governor's Life Saving award at the Spokane Convention Center in the annual statewide Industrial Safety and Health Conference.

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