Professional truck driver William Adkins, a driver for FedEx Freight out of its Kenova terminal, was selected as Grand Champion of the West Virginia Trucking Association’s 59th annual Truck Driving Championship held June 21 in Charleston.
Adkins took the top honor after competing in a variety of skill and safety tests. He also finished first in the sleeper berth competition.
While he won his class in 2011 and later competed at the National Truck Driving Championship, this is the first time he has won the Grand Champion Award.
In addition to the driving competition, which included 33 professional truck drivers representing eight West Virginia-based motor freight companies, the association recognized drivers for their 2013 safety accomplishments during a recent awards banquet.
Paul Norman of Tad, who drives for Pitt Ohio out of the Belle terminal, was honored with the West Virginia Professional Driver of the Year Award. In his 28-year career, Norman has driven more than 2.5 million miles with no accidents.
John Hodges, a Hurricane resident who retired from UPS Freight, was honored with the State Police Safety Award. Hodges drove for 36 years and 3.6 million miles. He has competed in the West Virginia Truck Driving Championships numerous times and won the Grand Champion Award in 2012.
David “Craig” Warner, a driver with UPS Freight and a Nitro resident, earned the West Virginia Public Service Commission Driver of the Year Award.
Warner, who has driven for 35 years and has logged more than 3 million miles, also finished first in the 5-axle van competition.
Other first-place winners: Straight truck, James Priddy of FedEx Freight, Charleston; 3-axle tractor semi-trailer, Kevin Asbury of FedEx Freight, Leon; 4-axle tractor semi-trailer, Tim Hodges of UPS Freight, Hurricane; tank truck, Clarence Jenkins Jr. of UPS Freight, Poca; flatbed, Kenneth Grimmett of Con-way Freight, Fayetteville; twin trailers, Don Young of FedEx Freight, Nitro; step van, Stephen Estep of FedEx Ground, Marmet; and Rookie of the Year, Bobby Elliot of FedEx Freight, Charleston.
The Team Champion Award went to UPS Freight.
All first-place drivers now will go on to compete in the American Trucking Association’s National Truck Driving Championship — also known as the “Super Bowl of Safety” — in Pittsburgh Aug. 12-16.