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Hero trucker drags driver to safety after crash causes inferno on A449

As reported in the Evening News, Wednesday August 17

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Video: Recorded at the Scene

Andy Grimes & Phil Morris

Two 44 tonne lorries crashed and caught fire on the A449 near Six-ways Stadium in Worcester. The crash happened around 11.30 am yesterday, starting an inferno which sent a plume of black smoke rising above the city.

Paramedics rushed one of the drivers to Worcestershire Royal Hospital with chest injuries, caused by his seatbelt and steering wheel, while the other driver was unhurt. The crash was on the eastbound side of the A449 heading towards Junction 6 of the M5.

Witness Andy Grimes used his own lorry to block the road to oncoming traffic and helped the driver from his cab, looking after him while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Mr Grimes a lorry driver who was working for Highfields International Exhibition Services, said: “ I was following the lorry and he suddenly stopped, there was a lot dust and dirt straight away and the tyres stared to blow.

I stopped in the middle of the road to stop anybody coming past. I ran out to get the chap out of the lorry, he was halfway out at that point. I got him and got him to the side. He was very confused. He’d banged his head, he had blood on his arm. He was very traumatised and shocked and he had pains in his chest. The lorry was in flames. We just tried to talk to him until the paramedics came. There wasn’t a lot left of the lorry and there wasn’t much room for him to get out. It was just a mess.

Mr Grimes said it appeared the front of the injured man’s lorry had collided with the back of the lorry travelling in front. One of the lorries was carrying woodchip and was completely consumed by the fire. He said “He must have punctured the diesel tank, that was where the big flame was from and the black smoke.” Phil Morris, who was driving another Highfields lorry behind Mr Grimes, also jumped out to help. “The lorry was on fire at that point.

I've never seen anything catch fire so quickly. I had to stop some traffic which was trying to get past.”

The fire crews spent several hours tackling the blaze. As the Worcester news went to press the eastbound side of the A449 was due to remain shut until the early hours of this morning. The westbound carriageway, heading towards Kidderminster, re opened at 5.40pm.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The collision caused a fire that totally consumed one of the lorries which was carrying woodchips. The driver of that lorry, a man, suffered chest injuries from the seatbelt and steering wheel and was conveyed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The other driver was uninjured and was able to decouple the cab from the trailer before the fire took hold”

“I ran out to get the chap out of the lorry, he was halfway out at that point...”

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