Water workers prevent motorway pile up

Two quick-thinking water workers risked their lives yesterday (December 9) when they stopped what could have been a major pile-up on a motorway slip road.

United Utilities customer services employee, Sarah Tew, from Preston was on her way to work when her car spun off on black ice the slip road linking the M6 to the M62 in Warrington.

Unhurt but dazed Ms Tew then watched in horror from the hard shoulder as a lorry span off on the same black ice and hit a BMW, with both vehicles crashing down an embankment.

Realising the treacherous road surface was putting lives at risk Ms Tew put on a hi-vis jacket leapt from her car and began waving her arms from the hard shoulder to slow down oncoming traffic.

Fortunately she was quickly joined by her work colleague and friend, Kelly Marshall from Orrell, who switched on the flashing amber light on her United Utilities van to help slow down the traffic.

The pair, who work in Lingley Mere, spent two hours on the hard shoulder, slowing vehicles until the police and council gritters could arrive.

They also looked after the shaken drivers of the lorry and BMW until the paramedics got there, keeping them warm with spare blankets and fleeces, the driver of the BMW was eventually airlifted to hospital.

Ms Tew said: “I knew it was dangerous to be standing there on the hard shoulder with traffic thundering towards us, but I didn’t have a choice.

“There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that someone was going to get killed unless I took action.

“I was thrilled when Kelly turned up to help. We both stood there in our hi-vis jackets with vehicle lights flashing, waving our arms around like we were doing some frantic aerobics work-out.”

Emergency services at the scene praised the courage of the pair, saying their quick thinking prevented what could have been a major tragedy.

Luke Walsh

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