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8 September 2011, 11:44
Police have released CCTV footage of brave act which resulted in two officers receiving Chief Constable's commendations.
PC Lee Draper and a colleague were among officers, staff and members of the public who were praised for their actions at a Chief Constable's Annual Awards Ceremony on Monday (September 5th). The ceremony took place at Cambridgeshire police HQ, at Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon.
Those attending heard how PC Draper, a firearms officer based at force HQ, risked his life by dragging three young women from a burning car.
The car had travelled the wrong way along the A14 before crashing into a field and landing on its roof.
PC Draper and another constable had earlier begun pursuing the vehicle on the A14 at Histon and followed it through Waterbeach and Caxton, reaching speeds of up 140mph. However, the chase had to be abandoned when the car turned the wrong way (eastbound) along the westbound carriageway at Godmanchester.
They resumed the pursuit after a further sighting of the vehicle on the A1123 coming out of St Ives. It continued through Needingworth but the vehicle left the road at the T-junction with the A1123 Needingworth bypass and crashed and caught fire in a field, about 60 to 80 feet from the road. The vehicle was not under pressure from the police car at the time and the crash was caused by a combination of poor driving and a defect of the vehicle.
PC Draper and his colleague arrested two men who had crawled out but PC Draper returned to the burning vehicle to find two teenage girls and a woman still inside.
He climbed inside the car, untangled one from her seatbelt and dragged her to safety. He then returned to the vehicle on separate occasions to rescue the others.
At this point the car was completely engulfed by flames and the officers moved all five people a safe distance from the vehicle which was in danger of exploding.
Both officers were commended for the "high degree of professional judgement, determination and courage” they showed during the incident, which happened in the early hours of May 27th, 2009.