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Chief Constable and members of the public honoured at bravery ceremony

Nine people, including the Chief Constable of Essex Police, have been commended for their bravery after they stopped to help at the scene of a fatal road crash.

Sophie Astbury from Braintree , Michael Hall and Sally Taylor, both from Kelvedon, Ann Marie-Crowther from Chelmsford, Myra Whitaker from Braintree, Denise Freeman and Peter Hine from Grantham in Lincolnshire and Ds Paul Storey, an off duty Metropolitan Police Officer were all presented with a commendation by the Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh. They were commended for their bravery, compassion and public spirit after they stopped to help at the incident which took place in Essex Regiment Way on Sunday, April 13. The Chief Constable also received an Essex Police Commendation for his actions at the scene whilst off duty. 

Commendation ceremony

Together they tried to remove a driver who was caught in a sports car which was on fire. They also helped a family with two young children who were trapped inside the other car.

Tragically the driver in the sports car could not be saved and he died at the scene.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, who was presented with his award by the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston, said: “On that Sunday afternoon, I was driving along the A130 from Chelmsford towards Dunmow when I saw a plume of smoke ahead and a line of traffic. I realised there had been a nasty accident and put my blue lights on to help ensure the scene was safe.

“I found a red sports car partially engulfed in flames in the carriageway, sadly with a man trapped inside, and members of the public pulling an unconscious man from an Astra nearby – they had already removed two children from the back seats.

“Worryingly, the woman driver in the Astra was semi-conscious and trapped in the driver’s seat, with her door wedged shut. The fire from the sports car was at risk of spreading or exploding so, together with two men, we pulled the distressed woman out of the car and got her to a safe distance.

“Off-duty nurses started tending to both the man and the woman as plain-clothed and uniformed officers started to arrive. The officers first on scene tended to the couple and continued after the ambulances and helicopter arrived. Very shortly afterwards, a fire crew arrived and ran to the car on fire and I could see all the emergency services were at their best.

“An off-duty sergeant, Paul Storey, from Hackney, started to collect the details of all the witnesses and obtain a first account.

“On that sad day, the public at that accident were breath-takingly decent, brave and caring and the emergency services were prompt, professional, co-ordinated and compassionate.

“I was proud to have played a small part but deeply saddened we could not have done more for the poor man in the red sports car. This commendation is dedicated to him and his family.”

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I am delighted today not only to give the Chief Constable his commendation but also to meet those members of the public who stopped to help at the scene of this tragic incident.

“It is hard to imagine being confronted by such a dreadful scene, but I do know it took great bravery and compassion on the part of all those commended here today to rescue and then help those involved and to attempt to save the life of the person who, sadly, died.

“I know the Chief Constable would want me to add that every day of the week, Essex Police officers and PCSOs perform acts of bravery and selflessness to protect the communities they serve.  All of us who live and work in Essex, are fortunate to have such a professional police force whose members regularly put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.”


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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police

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