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HPD Awards Semi-Truck Driver for Life-Saving Actions

Jennifer Powell and James Ashenhurst, center, are joined by members of the Hilliard Division of Police. Powell received HPD's Good Citizen Award for her evasive driving that officers believe saved Ashenhurst's life.

Hilliard police officers are crediting a semi-truck driver’s swift action with saving a man’s life following a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 270.

The driver, Jennifer Powell of Findlay, was recognized by Chief of Police Michael Woods during the Hilliard City Council meeting Sept. 26.

On April 14, 2022, at about 2 p.m., Hilliard police officers received several 911 calls reporting a serious crash on I-270 North near Cemetery Road. As officers arrived on the scene, they discovered several vehicles, including a semi-truck, were involved.

A van approaching the exit ramp in the right lane had failed to stop behind traffic, striking a vehicle with such force that it caused a chain-reaction crash. One of the vehicles involved, a Ford F-150 truck driven by James Ashenhurst of Hilliard, was pushed into the center lane — directly into the path of the Powell’s semi-truck.

Data shows that within seconds Powell slowed the truck from 64 mph to 41 mph and steered to the left, reducing the impact to Ashenhurst and avoiding other vehicles on the interstate.

“Your actions that day may have saved more than the life of that driver,” Chief Woods said. “Without your drastic attempts to avoid the collision, the outcome of the crash could have been much more severe.”

Although Ashenhurst suffered serious injuries, he lived. He surprised Powell at the meeting with a bouquet of flowers and tearful appreciation.

“I did what any truck driver would do – we’re trained to do that, to scan far and wide,” Powell said in response. “So, this isn’t just for me. This is for all of this.”

Watch the recognition during Monday’s council meeting.

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