Truck driver killed in crash is praised for saving boy's life


POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009

A 12-year-old boy who survived the rollover crash of a tractor-trailer truck Sunday said the driver, his calabash uncle, saved his life.

;[Preview]  Tractor Trailer Child Victim Speaks Out

The passenger involved in Sundays fatal tractor trailer crash says mechanical problems caused the driver to lose control and if it wasn't for his Hanai uncle's actions he would not be alive.

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“;He was a hero,”; Noe Edward Rodriguez said of Russell Fox.

Rodriguez said he was riding with his uncle when the truck's steering wheel locked and the brakes failed.

According to a preliminary police report, witnesses said they saw the truck swerving back and forth before it turned off the Waianae-bound lanes of the H-1 freeway onto the Ewa off-ramp, where it overturned into the grass about 11:55 a.m.

Fire rescue workers used jacks to raise the cab to free Rodriguez, then paramedics took him to a hospital.

Fox died at the scene.

Rodriguez said just before the truck overturned, Fox took off his seat belt and put his arms around Rodriguez to protect him from the impact, saying, “;Uncle loves you.”;

“;He saved my life,”; said Rodriguez.

Friends and family members described Fox as a loving person who not only worked as a truck driver for A's Trucking & Equipment but also was the resident manager of his apartment complex along Leonui Street in Waipahu.

Moana Rodriguez, Noe's mother, said she was grateful.

“;If it wasn't for uncle holding my son like that, I would have lost my son,”; she said.

Rodriguez, who was released from the hospital Tuesday night, said he had a fractured hand, leg scratches, and bruises on his body and head, but otherwise felt “;good.”; He said two pins were put in his right hand at the hospital.

Fox's wife, Lavern, said her husband had left with Rodriguez in the morning to pick up and deliver eggs and was heading home when the crash occurred.

She said the trucking business was unaware of the boy riding in the vehicle.

There have been 26 people killed on Oahu roads this year, compared with 15 at the same time last year.