Hero Chesterfield lorry driver who dragged young woman from burning car on M1 honoured

A hero Chesterfield lorry driver who rescued a woman from a burning car seconds before it exploded on the M1 has been honoured.

Friday, 24th July 2020, 5:00 pm

John Rastrick, 66, was travelling northbound in his truck on the M1 on the evening of January, 17 2019 when the young woman’s car was in a collision with another vehicle before his eyes.

The car burst into flames and the driver, Pari Mistry, of Leicester, was trapped inside.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

After John pulled over, put his hazard lights on and got out of his lorry, only 29 seconds passed before Pari’s car exploded.

In that time John had pulled her free from the car and dragged her to safety.

Now John, who works for DFDS Transport, at Holmewood, has been nominated as a HGV Hero – a campaign launched by The Road Haulage Association (RHA).

"I didn’t have time to think,” John, of Loundsley Green, said. “I was 100 per cent focussed on what I was doing becuse I knew if I didn’t get her out quickly she would die.

Chesterfield lorry driver John Rastrick embraces Pari Mistry after saving her life in an M1 crash.

"I don’t necessarily think I’m a hero or that I acted differently to how anyone else in that situation would have done. But I was the only person who was there to do it.”

Pari recently celebrated her 30th birthday and told John she would not have been here today without his quick-thinking and calmness under pressure.

The petrol tank on her car had been damaged by the impact of the crash and the vehicle had instantly burst into flames.

Chesterfield lorry driver John Rastrick appears on BBC Breakfast after saving a woman's life in an M1 crash.

"The only part of the car which wasn’t burnt out was her front number plate,” John, who has been a HGV driver for more than 40 years, said.

"They took her straight to a head injury unit at Coventry which probably saved her life. She was still in a really bad way and had to learn things again from scratch with the help of her family.

"She’s a lovely lady and her family are great. Whenever we have met she couldn’t say enough about what I did that day.”

For more information on the awards, click here

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor