London, Sep 28 (IANS) A British-Indian delivery van driver has been named the recipient of this year’s ‘Pride of Britain Award’ for risking his life to prevent a road accident that could have resulted in multiple fatalities, a media report said.
Dee Patel, being hailed a “hero”, will receive the award in the outstanding bravery category in a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House in London’s Park Lane on Monday night, the Mirror reported.
Patel, who works for Camberley town-based ventilation specialists Zehnder Group UK, was on a routine job on May 18 when he spotted a car ahead of him lose control on the M25 motorway.
The 48-year-old dad of two watched in horror as the car swerved into the central barrier and bounced off it before coming back on to the carriageway at a high speed.
The car hit the barrier a second time, before swerving across four lanes of traffic and on to the hard shoulder.
Patel sprang into action after realizing that the driver, a young woman, was unconscious and a high-speed pile-up seemed inevitable, according to the daily.
“As she came back across she ended up right in front of me. I instantly saw what I needed to do — I had to slow her down,” Patel was quoted as saying.
“I had to make sure I hit her with my driver’s side to her passenger side, to force her into the central reservation. Otherwise it could flip over and cause an even worse accident.”
As the braveheart pushed the car against the crash barrier, it grinded to a screeching halt, finally slowing to a complete stop straddling the fast lane and the central reservation.
Police later praised Patel’s courage, saying: “Instead of a multi-vehicle collision with potential serious injuries, it has ended up with no injuries and just damage to vehicles which can be repaired or replaced thanks to your quick thinking.”
Founded in 1999, the ‘Pride of Britain Awards’ are presented to the country’s unsung heroes. The winners are decided by a panel of distinguished judges and is jointly supported by the Daily Mirror, Lidl, ITV, Daybreak and the Prince’s Trust.
This year, the awards will be handed out by Prince Charles.