A BOBBY who brought a collapsed motorist back from the brink of death today said: “I’m no hero.”
PC Andy Benn was the first member of the emergency services on the scene of a serious road accident in Wigan town centre last month.
And while witnesses were trying to administer first aid to the stricken driver it was he who insisted he be dragged from the vehicle and given proper resuscitation.
Onlookers say they were deeds which almost certainly saved 54-year-old Roderick Barton’s life.
PC Benn, who two years ago won a commendation for finding and saving a missing Warrington woman who had threatened to take her own life while working for Cheshire police, has now been put forward for another award by Greater Manchester constabulary.
Local Oxfam shop manager Wendy Lamb recently praised the officer for overriding the concerns of a nurse who didn’t want to get the grey-faced driver out of the car in case it exacerbated any spinal injuries he could have suffered.
But PC Benn insisted today that he played just one part in a team effort, including a town centre CCTV operator who raised the alarm that the motorist might be in serious difficulties.
That afternoon of November 26, the 44-year-old officer was on the way to Wigan Infirmary on another job when he heard that there had been a “minor accident” at the junction of Parsons Walk and Market Street. It looked like specialist traffic officers would be there soon enough so he carried on his way.
But then he heard a message from Terry Darbyshire in Wigan Council’s central watch station.
The officer said: “Terry had seen on camera that the driver of the Hyundai Getz did not appear to be moving.
“As I was close by I changed direction and came up Parsons Walk to find it was far more than a minor bump. The other car - a Ford Fiesta had been almost bent in half by the impact.
“But it was clear that the driver of the Hyundai Getz was in difficulty. I could see his seat had been wound back and a lady was trying to perform CPR on him in his seat.
“But from my experience it is difficult to do the chest compressions properly in such a position because the seats are too soft.
“So I asked a witness to help me to get the driver out of the car and onto the road.
“The lady asked if I wanted her to do the chest compressions while I did the breaths, then the quick response paramedic arrived and I did the compressions while he put an air mask on the patient.
“At one point the patient took a couple of breaths and I thought we had got him back but then they stopped again.
“The paramedic then gave him a shock with the defibrilators and then, when the ambulance arrived, he was given a second shock and taken to hospital.”
Mr Barton spent several days in the intensive care unit before being moved to coronary care. Since then, he has been declared well enough to be allowed home. The 41-year-old driver of the Fiesta was treated for whiplash injuries.
The circumstances of the incident are still under investigation.
Mrs Lamb said: “I am positive that the policeman saved the driver’s life.
“The nurse was too concerned with spinal injuries which would have been correct if the driver had not stopped breathing.
“I just want the policeman to be credited with his brilliant actions.”
But PC Benn said: “I’m not a hero. I was just part of a team. If Terry in the control room hadn’t been so prompt in shouting it up, the guy could have died.”
Mr Barton has declined to comment about the incident.