Halifax-based hero police officer praised by driver he saved

PC Martin Willis hold onto the wheel of a van hanging over an embankment on A1(M) near Leeds. A police officer has been hailed a hero after clinging on to a van which was hanging precariously over the edge of a motorway bridge -- using just his BARE HANDS. See Ross Parry story RPYHERO;  PC Willis, known as Motorway Martin, managed to hold on long enough for emergency services to arrive who then freed the trapped driver. It's believed the driver of the van lost control and almost careered down an A1(M) embankment. The driver was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with serious but not life-threatening injuries. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews used ropes to drag the van to safety.
PC Martin Willis hold onto the wheel of a van hanging over an embankment on A1(M) near Leeds. A police officer has been hailed a hero after clinging on to a van which was hanging precariously over the edge of a motorway bridge -- using just his BARE HANDS. See Ross Parry story RPYHERO; PC Willis, known as Motorway Martin, managed to hold on long enough for emergency services to arrive who then freed the trapped driver. It's believed the driver of the van lost control and almost careered down an A1(M) embankment. The driver was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with serious but not life-threatening injuries. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews used ropes to drag the van to safety.

The man who was saved by heroic Halifax-based police officer Martin Willis has thanked the emergency services for saving his life.

PC Willis, who works in Halifax, grabbed on to Thomas Dulson’s van after it crashed on the A64 and helped to stop it plunging off a 30ft high bridge.

He held on to the van for 15 minutes to prevent it swaying in the wind, which was long enough for emergency services to arrive who then rushed Mr Dulson to Leeds General Infirmary where he is being treated for two broken legs.

Mr Dulson posted from his hospital bed on Sunday night to express his gratitude, saying ‘without all those emergency services I wouldn’t be here to type this message.”

The full Facebook post read: “Absolutely appreciate all the words from everyone, but without all those emergency services I wouldn’t be here to type this message so I just want to express my gratitude to everyone who risked their lives to save me.”

But speaking yesterday (Monday), he added: “I’m not ready to talk to anyone at this moment in time, so I’d appreciate if you allowed me to come round in my own time.”

Speaking outside the family home in Bolton, Greater Mancs, yesterday (Monday) his mum Frances Dulson said her son is in a ‘bad way’ and most likely won’t return home before Christmas.

She said: “We are looking at a good couple of weeks until he is considered well enough to return home.

“Looking at the pictures, he is incredibly lucky to be alive.”

It’s believed Mr Dulson lost control of the van and almost careered down an A1(M) embankment.

The victim was rescued by crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service who used a winch to stabilise the van and pull it to safety during a two-hour operation.

Speaking on Saturday, PC Willis said: “I just saw this van on top of the bridge through the railings and contacted control to say, ‘I’ve got to stop here - this looks very serious’.

“I walked on the hard shoulder to the incident and as I did so a lorry driver, who was not involved in the incident, shouted across to say there was a chap upside down in the van.”

After signalling colleagues to close the road, PC Willis grabbed hold of the van’s rear axle to steady it.

He said he did his best to reassure the man trapped inside, who has suffered serious leg injuries.

“I told the victim not to panic and said ‘we’re going to get you out of there, whatever you do, don’t move’,” he recalled.

“I then grabbed hold of the rear wheel and pulled inwards which helped to keep the van balanced. I was there for a good 15 minutes I think.

“Every time a lorry went by I could see the van sway and I just thought, ‘It’s right over the A64, if this van goes over it will kill the driver.’

“Of course, you’re also thinking ‘any minute now, something is going to come on the hard shoulder and hit me.’

“It was quiet a scary situation but this is the reality of the job we do.

“Sometimes you do have to take risks and if you need to help someone, you need to help them.”