Leeds & West Yorkshire

PC Martin Willis who held on to crashed van praises driver

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Media captionPC Willis held on to the van for 15 minutes to stop it toppling over a bridge

A police officer dubbed "Superman" when he held on to a crashed van hanging over a motorway bridge has praised the "incredible" bravery of the driver.

The driver was trapped inside when PC Martin Willis arrived at the scene on the A1(M), near Tadcaster, on Friday.

PC Willis said: "I was so frightened it was going to go over the edge the way it was rocking."

The officer had to hold the vehicle for 15 minutes to stop it falling onto the A64 link road.

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PC Willis said: "The driver was incredibly brave he kept still while suffering from severe injuries.

"It must have been terrifying for him as well. It was really, really scary but it is what we do."

PC Adam Pace‏ tweeted after the incident "Your superman cape isn't in this photo though! Must have come off in the fracas!"

Image caption PC Willis said when lorries went past the crash the van was "swaying"
Image copyright West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Image caption A view from below the bridge shows the van's precarious position

PC Willis, a roads policing officer with West Yorkshire Police, based in Bradford said he was on the way to a different crash when he saw the van "upside down on top of the bridge".

"I just knew I had to stop at this one, it was a very serious collision," he said.

He heard the driver respond to his shouts and through the wreckage he "could see his leg was badly broken".

PC Willis said he thought "any moment now this vehicle could literally tip over" then the van driver and others on the road beneath could have died.

PC Willis, known as Motorway Martin on Twitter, said once firefighters arrived and attached a winch to the vehicle he was able to let go.

"It felt longer than that", he said about the 15 minutes.

He has been "overwhelmed by the public response" but said "thousands of emergency workers do it in a day."

His back was "a little sore", he added.

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