First to arrive at a crash Friday in West Yorkshire, England, Constable Martin Willis found a scene that practically defines the word “precarious.”
A wrecked van with the driver trapped inside teetered on the edge of an icy overpass, Willis told CBS News. Each time another vehicle passed or the wind gusted, the constable could see the van sway.
Willis grabbed a tire to keep the van from plunging to the roadway below, and hung on for 15 minutes until a West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue team arrived to assist.
“It was scary as I was worried another collision could occur and hit us on the hard shoulder as traffic was speeding past,” Willis told The Telegraph. “It was balancing so I just had to hold it still.”
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Posting on Twitter about the experience later, Willis said “I can’t begin to describe my relief,” when help arrived. The driver was taken to a hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
1st on the scene of this collision on the #A1M this morning and faced with a vehicle balancing over the edge of a bridge with the driver trapped! After holding on to the vehicle to stop it swaying in the wind I can't begin to desribe my relief when @WYFRS arrived on scene! pic.twitter.com/E8ilktlOl7— Motorway Martin (@WYP_PCWILLIS) December 1, 2017
Newspaper and television reports describe Willis as a hero.
“Your superman cape isn’t in this photo though! Must have come off in the fracas!” fellow Constable Adam Pace posted to Twitter.
Your superman cape isn’t in this photo though! Must have come off in the fracas!— PC Adam Pace (@PCAdamPace) December 2, 2017
Another poster, identifying themselves as a parent of the injured driver, posted their gratitude and said Willis, who goes by “Motorway Martin” on Twitter, should change his name to “Motorway Marvel.”
John Regan Just like to say thanks "motorway martin" for your intervention, the driver is our son and you'll never know how grateful my partner and I are you should be renamed motorway marvel once again thank you so much— Simon (@sregan1971) December 3, 2017
But Willis later posted on Twitter that he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I was only doing my job, but feel very honoured to recieve so much praise,” Willis wrote Saturday.
A very sincere thank you to everyone for all your kind tweets. I was only doing my job, but feel very honoured to recieve so much praise. Please can any press enquiries be directed to our press office @WestYorksPolice Thank you again. @BBCLookNorth @itvcalendar— Motorway Martin (@WYP_PCWILLIS) December 2, 2017