Former Devizes man helped three drivers to safety after pile-up

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ben Woolrych played down his actions ( Ben Woolrych played down his actions (

Former Devizes man Ben Woolrych has played down talk that he is a hero after he helped the drivers of three cars to safety when they crashed in quick succession on a motorway.

Mr Woolrych, 36, ran back and forth on the motorway three times at night to rescue the drivers.

Mr Woolrych grew up in Devizes and went to Southbroom Junior School and Lavington School.

His parents, Noel and Nina Woolrych, live in Meadow Drive, Devizes.

Noel Woolrych praised his son for his actions.

Noel, who is manager of the CCTV system in Devizes, said: “I’m incredibly proud of him. I think what he did was extremely brave. His quick thinking saved a number of lives.”

The pile-up happened on the M62 in West Yorkshire. Mr Woolrych was driving home from work in Pontefract when a navy blue Fiat Punto ahead of him spun out of control and hit the central reservation.

Ben Woolrych, who works as a personal trainer in a gym, pulled over onto the hard shoulder. Not seeing anyone get out of the Punto, he ran across to help.

The driver, a young man, was conscious but disorientated and Mr Woolrych pulled him out of the car.

Mr Woolrych said: “The lights on the Punto had gone out in the crash and my worry was that someone would plough into it. I pulled the door open and pulled the driver out. I could see the lights of other vehicles coming towards us. I had to drag him across to the hard shoulder.”

Seconds after they got to the hard shoulder a Toyota Corolla ploughed into the Punto.

Mr Woolrych said: “I didn’t see the impact. I heard an almighty bang and the Punto shot past us and the car that hit it was spinning and came to rest not far away from us.”

Mr Woolrych told the driver of the Punto to phone 999 while he went to the second crashed car. He pulled open the driver’s door and supported the weight of the driver, helping him to the hard shoulder. The passenger in the car was able to walk across.

The drama did not end there. Several trucks had seen the crash and were slowing down but another car crashed into the Punto and ended up in the central reservation.

Mr Woolrych went to aid of this driver, who was able to get out of his car, and pulled him to the hard shoulder.

The police and emergency services arrived shortly afterwards.

Mr Woolrych gave his details to the police and went home to Huddersfield. The accident happened just after 10pm on January 14 and the motorway was closed until midnight.

Mr Woolrych asked the driver of the Punto to let him know he got home safely and he received a text from his parents thanking him.

Mr Woolrych, who has a seven-year-old son, said: “The lad said to me ‘you have saved my life, I owe you my life.’ “His parents texted me later and thanked me for what I had done.”

West Yorkshire Police said the only injuries suffered by the drivers and passenger were minor.

Mr Woolrych did not think he was a hero. He said: “I’m sure anyone would have done the same. All I thought was I have got to do something and I have got to do it quickly. I could see the urgency.

“Certainly, I can’t imagine the lad in the Punto would have survived if he had been in the car when the second car crashed into it,” he said.

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