A selfless lorry driver who pulled a young woman from a burning car on the M1 just seconds before it exploded will be presented with a surprise bravery award.
John Rastrick, a lorry driver from Chesterfield, was travelling northbound on the M1 on the evening of 17 January, 2019 when a collision took place in front of him at 5.43pm.
The car burst into flames and the 27-year-old driver, Pari Mistry, was trapped inside.
With no time to spare, John leapt from his cab and ran towards the burning vehicle knowing he only moments to save the driver.
He was met with thick smoke and flames which were rapidly engulfing the car, and he found Pari curled up in the driver’s seat in complete shock.
John said: “I saw her car spin two or three times when another car collided with her and her vehicle immediately set on fire.
“I just knew at that moment that there was no one else around to help and I had to do what was right.
“I hoped to God that whoever was in the car had got out, but when I saw Pari in there, I put all my fears aside and tried to pull her out.”
John dragged the Leicester woman from the car to safety with the help of other motorists. Within 29 seconds of helping Pari out of the car, it exploded.
In recognition of John’s brave actions, the crew who attended to Pari will present him with an East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Bravery Award.
Pari, who had been on the way to meet her husband for dinner, spent four days in a critical care unit at Coventry and Walsgrave General Hospital with a skull fracture.
She underwent an eight-hour operation on her skull and then had to learn to walk and talk again.
Pari is now on the road to recovery and was delighted to have the opportunity to thank John for saving her life.
She said: “I don’t remember much from the incident, apart from what I have been told but I know I immediately thought I was going to die.
“For my family, this incident was especially hard as we are all really close. With their support and help, I was able to persevere with my recovery and say thank you to John in my own words.
“Being able to say thank you to John and the crew for what they did means so much, I never thought I would get the chance.
“John didn’t just save my life. He saved the lives of my mum, dad and brother too.”
John said: “To know how far Pari has come in just one year since the accident is so amazing to see.”
John and Pari have kept in touch since the accident and remain close friends and will finally be reunited with the crew who helped on that fateful day.
This includes paramedic Katie Brown, technician Ian Brummel, paramedic Trevor Hawkes and trainee technician James O’Neil who arrived on two crewed ambulances, Duty Operations Manager Darren Alderton who arrived in an ambulance car, Dr Matt Woods and call handler Joanne Keenan.