A woman from Oakham who fought to save a man from his burning car has been recognised for her bravery.
Kate Johnson, 39, put her own life at risk during the ‘terrifying’ experience, in a courageous attempt to rescue the trapped man.
Kate, who was driving on the B6047 Leicester Road, near Tilton-on-the-Hill in February last year, was witness to a car spinning into the path of a lorry right in front of her eyes.
The car which crashed into a verge at the side of the road was engulfed in flames, but Kate’s initial reaction was to run towards the car to try and help save the man inside.
Kate, who works at Leicester University, said: “It all happened in a matter of moments. I pulled over and ran towards the car, it was burning. I reached into the car and tried to check the pulse of the driver, whilst the flames were building behind his seat.
“My initial thoughts were to get him out of the car, as I didn’t want him to suffer further injury from the fire.”
At this point an elderly couple, Bill and Sheilah Brewin, who had called the emergency services, had managed to get a fire extinguisher to try and put out the flames.
Kate said: “The flames were too strong for the fire extinguisher. I tried my best to pull the man out of the car, but he wasn’t moving.”
The couple that were trying to help Kate, soon realised that the man had been killed in the crash and tried to encourage Kate to move away from the intense heat of the flames.
Mr Brewin had to physically pull Kate away from the fire and back into the road. Kate said: “I just sat down on my car bonnet and broke into tears. I was so upset that I couldn’t do anymore to help.”
The emergency services soon arrived at the scene and managed to extinguish the fire.
Both Mr Brewin, 78, and Kate were honoured by Leicestershire Police and the Royal Humane Society last week for their selfless response to the tragedy.
The pair were nominated for the award by Detective Constable Pete Davies, who investigated the crash.
Kate said: “It’s great that there’s a system that recognises bravery.
“You can’t ever imagine something like that is going to happen. I re-live that moment everyday when I drive on that same road on my way to work.”