Lorry driver who pulled woman from burning car given bravery award

John Rastrick was recognised by East Midlands Ambulance Service for his actions on the M1 motorway in January last year.

A lorry driver who pulled a woman from a burning car moments before it exploded has been given a bravery award.

John Rastrick pulled Pari Mistry from her car after he saw it collide with another vehicle and burst into flames while he was driving on the M1 on January 17 last year.

The 65-year-old from Chesterfield told East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS): “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.”

When he got to the car, he saw Ms Mistry, 27, curled up in the front seat apparently in shock.

“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,” Mr Rastrick said.

He dragged her from her vehicle and, with the help of other motorists, pulled her to safety – less than 30 seconds before the car exploded.

Ms Mistry, from Leicester, suffered a fractured skull, which required eight hours of surgery, and she subsequently had to learn to walk and talk again.

John Rastrick and Pari Mistry are reunited with East Midlands Ambulance Service crew
John Rastrick and Pari Mistry were reunited with the East Midlands Ambulance Service crew who attended the scene (East Midlands Ambulance Service/PA)

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.”

On Wednesday, Mr Rastrick was presented with the EMAS Bravery Award as he and Ms Mistry, who have stayed in touch since the incident, were reunited with the crew who attended the scene.

Ms Mistry said: “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.”

Mr Rastrick added: “To know how far Pari has come in just one year since the accident is so amazing to see.”

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