‘It was a gap of just seconds’ – Hard shoulder heroes help woman from wreck moments before A1(M) car inferno between Letchworth and Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Quick-thinking scaffolders sprinted down from the A1(M)’s hard shoulder and helped a young woman from her wrecked car, just moments before it went up in flames.
Craig Dean, from Letchworth, stepped in to help Baldock gym teacher Chloë Ward on Friday morning after a shunt between Junction 9 and 8 sent her car crashing through a fence and into some trees.
She ended up needing plastic surgery to her face and lip, and has back and neck pain, but is already out of hospital – and hero Craig paid her a visit on Sunday.
“I can’t thank him enough for saving her,” said Chloë’s mum Lisa.
“He doesn’t think he is a hero, but he is mine.”
Thankful dad Ian agreed: “Craig was the hero of the hour.”
Chloë, 22, was on her way to work in Luton, and had only taken the A1(M) in the first place because she was early and fancied a change.
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“She doesn’t usually go that way to get through Hitchin,” said Ian.
“She was slightly early so she thought she’d have a drive down the motorway.
“We’ve got camera footage showing a grey vehicle veering into her lane, and you can see her being knocked off the motorway.
“She went straight into a wooden fence, through an embankment and into the trees.”
Craig was driving down the motorway on his way to a job in Stevenage when he saw what had happened.
“Me and two of the lads were driving from the yard to work just like every morning,” he told the Comet.
“Going past I saw the red Vauxhall and a girl down there.
“I pulled up and sprinted down with my mate Gerry. She was leaning against the driver’s side of the car, bloodied all over her face. She’d climbed out the window.
“I could see flames coming out of the engine so I wanted to get her away from the car as fast as I could.
“As we got back to the hard shoulder, it just went up.
“It was a gap of just a few seconds. It all happened so fast, from pulling up to sprinting down, it’s all a blur.”
Chloë had almost gone back into the car to get her things.
“She’d had her laptop and that in there,” said Ian. “The scaffold lads said: ‘Just leave it’ and took her back up to the hard shoulder.”
Craig and his workmates from First Choice Scaffolding, Gerry Fuller and Neil Stewart, stayed with Chloë while they waited for help to come, as did another passer-by Craig could identify only as ‘Cod’.
Neil called an ambulance and Gerry helped to comfort Chloë.
Craig said: “She was bleeding and shaken, and she was worrying about her car.
“She was even concerned about missing her gym class. I thought that was quite brave of her.”
Chloë was discharged from hospital the same day, but returned for plastic surgery on Monday.
Craig has insisted he was not a hero and said: “I did just what anyone would have done. Gerry did the comforting, Neil made the phone call – it was a good team effort, really.”
The Ward family is appealing for the public’s help tracing the grey saloon car whose driver witnessed the incident.
Ian said: “He parked underneath a sign and had a look, then drove off.”
In particular they are looking for the driver of a white van that was on the hard shoulder behind where the grey car stopped.
Police yesterday appealed for the grey car’s driver to come forward.
Anyone with information should call PC Philip Watts on 101, quoting ISR 67 of April 29, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.