Two detective constables who rescued an inebriated female from a burning car fallen into a deep roadside ditch have been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.
On 14 September 2022, DCs Craig Trevor and Lily Deacon were travelling in plain clothes in an unmarked vehicle on A605 to deal with a detainee when they witnessed the driver of a car, approaching from the opposite direction at 70-80mph, lose control of the vehicle and fall into a 15-feet roadside ditch near Coates.
Both the officers immediately stopped their vehicle and approached the crashed car after calling for assistance on police airwaves.
Upon the crash, the car had flipped and caught fire. It was now resting precariously on the edge of the ditch which opened into a 100-meter fall on the side of the motorway.
Unknown about the number of occupants in the car or their status, both the officers alighted into the ditch and found that the female was alone and trapped in the driver’s seat.
The officers found that the female driver was in a state of shock and was unable to make attempts to exit the blazing car bellowing heavy black smoke.
Exhibiting superior skills, grit, and presence of mind the officers successfully extracted the female driver from the burning car, without damaging the window glass or the windshield, by accessing her after helping her unlock the car’s door.
Pulling her to safety by the side of the motorway, the officers went on to ensure that there were indeed no other injured occupants trapped in the engulfed car.
Being a rural area, the fire and rescue service reached about 10 minutes, after the officers had placed the call for assistance on the airwaves, by when the female driver had been safely rescued by them.
The two officers placed themselves in harm’s way to save the female driver, who was provided medical attention by the ambulance staff and found under the influence of alcohol over the legal limit.
Both the officers rescued the female driver at the risk of fatal injuries as the car was ablaze when they carried out the operation.
The female driver was later sentenced to a 16-month driving ban (reduced to 16 weeks), a £120 fine and £105 court costs.
Reacting to the incident, Liz Groom, Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair, said: “I am incredibly proud of Lily and Craig who showed great bravery in their actions. They would not have expected to have needed to put themselves in harm’s way when simply travelling to deal with a detainee in an unmarked police car, but they did so without hesitation.
"It’s clear that had they not then this female could have sustained serious injuries or worse. They are a real credit to the force and policing.”
Cambridgeshire Chief Constable, Nick Dean, added: “DCs Trevor and Deacon conducted themselves with utmost bravery and professionalism. They acted with great determination and skill to remove the woman from the vehicle, undoubtedly saving her life, and all while putting themselves in harm’s way.”