Hurricane, WV-resident and professional truck driver John Hodges was named Grand Champion of the West Virginia Trucking Associationâ€™s 57th Annual Truck Driving Championship, held Saturday, June 23 in Charleston, association representatives announced.
Hodges, a driver for UPS Freight, took the top honor after competing in variety of skill and safety tests. This is the third time Hodges has won the Grand Champion Award, placing first in 2008 and 2010.
Jan Vineyard, President of the association, said, â€śThe purpose of the Truck Driving Championship is to give trucking professionals the opportunity to test their driving and safety skills against their West Virginia peers. The competition mirrors what professional truck drivers must do day-in and day-out to maintain safety records unmatched by any other segment of the driving public.â€ť
In addition to the driving competition, which included over 50 professional truck drivers representing 11 West Virginia-based motor freight companies, the association recognized drivers for their 2011 safety accomplishments during an awards banquet Saturday evening.
Vineyard said Paul Gray, a Mt. Nebo, West Virginia resident who drives for Petroleum Transport, was honored with the WV Professional Driver-of-the-Year Award. Gray has driven over 2.6 million miles in his 35 year career with no accidents.
Keith Miller, a Marlinton, West Virginia resident employed by Burns Motor Freight, was honored with the State Police Safety Award. Miller has driven for 33 years and 3 million miles without any accidents. He was named Driver Of The Year in 2007, has won Driver Of The Month five times and received the Outstanding Driver Award four times.
Randy Johnson, a driver with Petroleum Transport Inc. and a Summersville, West Virginia resident, earned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Driver of the Year Award. Johnson has driven for nearly 27 years and has logged over 2.7 million miles without an accident.
Other winners include:
Rookie of the Year: Eric Johnson, FedEx Freight
Team Champions - UPS Freight
1st Place Straight Truck â€“ James Priddy, FedEx Freight
1st Place 3-Axle Tractor Semi-trailer â€“ John Hodges, UPS Freight
1st Place 4-Axle Tractor Semi-trailer â€“ Tim Hodges, UPS Freight
1st Place 5-Axle Van â€“ Clarence Jenkins, Jr., UPS Freight
Tank Truck â€“ John Gibson, ABF Freight Systems
Flatbed â€“ Kenneth Grimmett, Con-Way Freight
Twin Trailers â€“ Richard Spaur, Con-Way Freight
Sleeper Berth â€“ Steve Looney, Petroleum Transport
First Place Step Van â€“ Tim Bailey, Jr., UPS Ground
Pre-Trip Inspection Award â€“ Gerald Pugh, FedEx Freight
Written Test Score Winner â€“ Kenneth Grimmitt, Con-Way Freight
All first place drivers will compete in the American Trucking Associationsâ€™ National Truck Driving Championship â€“ also known as the Super Bowl of Safety â€“ taking place in Minneapolis, MN, August 7-11, 2012.