Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodyear Highway Hero is OOIDA member Mike Schiotis

“I was wondering how bad it hurts to get shot,” says 2011 Goodyear Highway Hero winner Mike Schiotis, telling us what was going through his mind last fall when he put himself in between a man with a .357 handgun and the woman the gunman intended to murder.

Mike Schiotis (right) and brother Pete ( left)
Mike, an OOIDA member from Spring Hill, TN, accepted the award last night during an industry awards dinner at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. It was an emotional event and a tearful one.

This morning, Goodyear took the hero finalists and their guests to the Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum. I got to tag along, as did ‘LL Now’ Senior Correspondent Terry Scruton, for an exclusive interview in a more casual setting. We knew that Mike and each of the other three finalists have told their stories a number of times. In fact, Mike was no stranger to us as his story was first written by LL Staff Writer Clarissa Kell-Holland.

But still, we were hoping to press for more detail … Boy, did we get an earful.

Schiotis, who works for Seville, Ohio-based Panther Expedited Services Inc., was driving to his destination in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1, 2011, when he saw a woman walking with a man close behind her. Mike slowed down and noticed that the man was pointing a gun at the woman. Most people would instinctively see a gun and get the heck out of there. Mike says for an instant, his shifting arm twitched, ready to do just that. But in a split second, the decision was made. He just could not leave her.

A prayer raced through his mind as the woman screamed for help, erasing any doubt and any fear from his thoughts. He stopped his truck. She ran up to his truck’s door, pounding on it and begging Mike to help her.

“I knew I could get shot, I mean here’s this guy with a .357 and he was gonna use it. … I thought ‘I could be with my Lord tonight …’ and I was suddenly at some kind of peace. I knew whatever happened, it was OK, I had to do what I could. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how I processed it. It came to me clear as a bell and I could never do it like that again if I tried.”

Mike jumped out of his truck and positioned himself between the woman and the man. She was bleeding from the head, having been badly beaten by her attacker. Mike helped the woman into his rig and described to us how she clawed her way desperately into the seat, seeking shelter from the would-be killer.

When Mike jumped into the driver’s seat, they took off, her attacker in pursuit in his car. Mike first decided to pull into a truck stop, but then decided it was safer to continue down the highway. The guy was still following.

Meanwhile, Mike notified the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, then used his CB radio to tell other truckers in the area what was happening.

“Another truck driver, who was behind me, drove up beside my truck to keep the guy from getting close enough to get a shot at us.”

Together, they drove side-by-side, weaving back and forth, giving troopers time to catch up with the man and take him into custody.

Mike said the guy fully intended to kill the woman. It was a relationship gone bad and she was three months pregnant. The man had a note in his shirt pocket revealing he was then going to shoot himself. Mike said three days later she miscarried her baby due to the violent incident.

The woman – he learned that her name was Anna – has been in contact with Mike, and after the incident he was invited to meet her under better circumstances. “When I met her and some of her co-workers, it really hit me, here’s this really nice person, full of life, and she could have been dead.”

Mike’s brother Pete was Mike’s guest at the awards banquet last night in Louisville. He said when Mike told him what happened, Pete first thought ,“Are you serious, dude? You did what?” But after thinking about it, he wasn’t surprised that his brother would respond like he did.

Mike is single, so he didn’t have to explain why he risked his life for stranger on the highway. He did have to break it to his mother, whom he calls every night. The two brothers grinned as they told us how their older sister helped tell Mom what Mike had done.

“Mom was happy, mad and proud,” says Mike.

Other Goodyear Highway Hero finalists included, John Crozman of Black Hawk, SD (also an OOIDA member); Mel Farnell of Shelburne, ON; and John Neumeier of Russia, OH. Stay tuned to the Pork Chop Diaries for their extraordinary stories of courage.


  1. It's a crazy world out there. One does not know how one will react until placed in an unimaginable situation.
    The lady in this article was very fortunate Mike reacted as he did.
    I wish him the best!!

    I am a Lifetime Member of OOIDA, now retired.

  2. I am one of Mike other sister's, Stephanie, When Mike told me what happened, I told him, "do you realize what you did?" "you saved that woman's life, you are a hero." I nominated Mike for the Goodyear Hwy Hero contest because I not only wanted everyone to hear his story and his act of faith, but I knew he would win, I thought, there is no other story out there that tops facing down the barrel of a gun. I am so very proud of him. Thank God he was there for Anna Trently.

    1. hi steph, pete

    2. I used to work with Mike and he told me about this the day after it happened. He was still in shock and not really understanding how big of a deal it was to do what he did. As he was describing what happened, it sounded like he was describing a movie to me. He is a hero. I'm proud to call him my friend..... Steven

  3. Hi Pete. Steph, Love the pic

  4. my uncle is a kind, loving guy. he would do this act again in a second, cause that is the type of man he is. and he has a very strong faith. proud of my family and very proud of my uncle. be safe all you truckers and consider yourselves apart of a amazing group of people that make this country run. god bless jessica johnson

  5. I used to know Mike. He was a little flaky, probably as a result of some of the people he grew up with. But I always knew he was a little better than they were. I wasn't shocked to read this story and am proud to say I knew him. Way to go, Schioty!