A Reserve Army medic from Preston who assisted at the scene of a fatal motorway crash has been honoured by Cheshire Police for his quick thinking.
Lt Colonel Nick Medway, Second in Command at 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital, was in Army uniform and had been travelling home from a training exercise preparing him for service in Afghanistan when he came across the incident and ‘took control’.
On September 9, 2010, Philip Cawley and Thomas Southward were killed when they were struck by a heavy goods vehicle as they changed a wheel on the hard shoulder of the M6 northbound at Sandbach, Cheshire.
His police citation noted that when Nick arrived at the scene he pulled his vehicle on to the hard shoulder and managed the incident until emergency services arrived, ensuring both victims were treated with dignity while directing other drivers how to assist. He also attended to the driver of the HGV, ensuring he was uninjured and that he remained at the scene.
The eight vehicle incident that he found himself managing was so serious that it closed the motorway for 11 hours. The Cheshire Constabulary citation for his honour reads: “Mr Medway’s actions when faced with such a traumatic situation were extraordinary.”
Two weeks later he deployed to Afghanistan where he served for three months as the Trauma Nurse Coordinator at the British Military Hospital in Camp Bastion – described as the busiest trauma hospital in the world.
In January 2012 a man was convicted of two counts of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and sentenced to six years imprisonment. The Recorder of Chester, his Honour Judge Elgan Edwards, commended Nick on his public spirited actions, stating that he brought dignity to the incident.
"trained for incident management"
He was presented with a framed certificate of the Judge’s Commendation by the Chief Constable of Cheshire David Whatton during a ceremony at Cheshire Police Headquarters.
Nick, 50, is married to Catherine and the couple have two children. In his civilian role he works as a Clinical Care Coordinator for NHS North Lancashire in Lancaster.
Nick said: “I was very surprised to receive this commendation. The ceremony, citation and personal comments made to me, made me feel very valued and that my contribution was important.
“On the day I had been undertaking pre-deployment training at the Royal College of Defence Medicine in Birmingham in preparation for my imminent deployment to Afghanistan as part of the UK Medical Group at Camp Bastion. As a member of the Territorial Army I have trained for incident management many times, but it was a shock to find my skills required on the way home.
“My priority was to make the scene as safe as possible. Luckily others who stopped did what I asked them to, and so we were able to contain the situation until the emergency services arrived.
“My overriding memory of the incident was the realisation of just how dangerous motorways are. I do not know why that specific accident happened but I would urge everyone to pay attention to all the warnings about tiredness, rest, speeding, using mobiles and so on. If they do so, they might make a difference and avoid other tragedies.”