A MOTORIST has told how he saved the lives of two strangers after pulling them from the wreckage of a burning car.
Kevin Willis was driving just seconds behind the horrific crash in Bolton on Saturday evening, which killed one man and left seven others injured.
But Mr Willis, 51, who took a first aid course just two weeks before, has been told by police the number of fatalities could have been much higher if it wasn’t for his quick-thinking actions.
He said: “We heard a big bang and saw smoke as we were approaching and when we got to the scene it looked awful.
“I jumped out of the car and the first thing I heard was a woman screaming, she must have been in so much pain and the noise of her scream will stay with me forever.
“But straight away I remembered what I’d been told on my first aid course two weeks ago - that it is the people who aren’t making any noise that you should be most worried about, so I went to the car with the three men in it.
“It was horrendous, all three were in the driver’s side foot well.
“The door was jammed shut but somehow I was able to get my fingers into the top of the door and prize the metal down and open the door.
“I don’t think I’ll ever know how I found the strength to do that.”
Mr Willis, of Barnsley Street, Beech Hill, then pulled one man out of the burning car through the driver’s door before returning to pull the other two men out through the boot space.
Two of the men were unconscious but the first man he rescued, now known to be Jason Kenealy, 32, was awake and spoke to him.
However, he died later in hospital from extensive internal injuries.
Mr Willis, who has one daughter and two grown up step-children with wife Alison, said: “Jason was talking to me saying he was okay and to go and get the others, he was really coming round and I thought he’d be all right, it’s such a shame.
“It was the other two men I was most worried about, I thought they were dead. I’d got two of the men out and all I could hear was Alison shouting that the car was going to explode, but I knew I had to go back for the third.”
Mr Willis has been a HGV driver for about 15 years and his employers D Cain and Son Ltd, based on Cale Lane, put him through his first first aid course as part of an NVQ course.
He said: “If it wasn’t for the course I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do in the situation I was in, but there was certain things that I’d learnt that stuck out in my mind. I just wish I could have done more to help.”
Alison said: “I am so proud of him for what he did and I feel like we it was fate that we were there that evening.
“Even the police liaison officer who has been to visit us since the incident has said that if it wasn’t for Kev’s actions we could have been looking at three fatalities and not one because the car was on fire and if the fire had spread to the petrol tank it could have exploded.
“His actions saved lives and I want to nominate him for a bravery award.”
A family-of-five — including three children — were also involved in the crash. The 41-year-old mother from the Toyota Corolla Verso is in hospital in a critical condition with deep cuts to her leg.
The father, aged 42, has been discharged from hospital, along with a seven-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.
A six-year-old boy is being treated in hospital with a bruised lung.
Two other men who were in the Vauxhall Corsa were taken to hospital. One of the men, a 22-year-old is in a very serious condition.
The 24-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is in hospital with a broken ankle.
Witnesses to the collision should contact the Road Policing Unit at Leigh on 0161 8567201.