VIDEO: Cambs Police officer risks life to pull three people from burning car
POLICE have released dramatic footage of the moment an officer pulled three people from a burning car seconds before it exploded.
Pc Lee Draper received a bravery award after he risked his life to haul two 16-year-old girls and a woman, 21, from the blazing wreckage. As he was moving the final casualty the car exploded.
The officer and his colleague Pc Robin Sutcliffe were on a routine night patrol in May 2009 when they received a call to help officers who were chasing a car in the Histon area.
The two men took on the pursuit of the VW Golf as it reached speeds of 140mph through Cambridgeshire.
The chase was temporarily abandoned when the Golf drove the wrong way along the A14 before crashing into a field and landing on its roof.
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Firearms officer Pc Lee Draper was the first on the scene to find one passenger thrown clear but three still trapped inside the burning wreckage.
The 16-year-old driver tried to run away but was wrestled to the ground by the brave officer.
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Pc Draper, a father-of-two, said: “It is just something instinctive that kicks in. You just think ‘Oh, my God, these people need help.’ Fortunately, we were there.
“In a split-second you have to mentally prepare yourself for what you might find. The driver had got himself out, leaving the three girls in the car.
“I grabbed hold of him, put him on the floor, then went and got the three girls out of the car one by one.
“The car was upside down and the engine was on fire. I crawled in through the rear passenger window. The girl in the back was on all fours and had become entangled in her seatbelt. She was screaming. I pulled her out of the car and took her to my colleague.
“I got the next female. The front-seat passenger was the girlfriend of the 16-year-old lad who was driving. She suffered quite a badly broken left leg.
“After I laid all three of them on the field I said to my colleague we were too close to the car. As we moved the last one away from that spot, something exploded and landed where we had just been.”
“The incident is certainly something that will never go away. You feel all sorts of emotions. You feel angry towards the driver - he would have killed five people that night.”
All three girls and the male passenger thrown clear sustained serious injuries. The driver was convicted for dangerous driving, no insurance and being a disqualified driver and jailed for 12 months but has since been released.
Pc Draper and his colleague were both praised for their actions at a Chief Constable’s Annual Awards Ceremony in Huntingdon and received commendations.
Chief Constable Simon Parr said: “PC Draper risked his life by dragging three young women from a burning car.
“PC Draper received a commendation for his high degree of professional judgement, determination and courage which he showed during the incident.”