Ipswich: Taxi driver is hailed a hero for rescuing motorist who crashed into railings after suspected heart attack

A TAXI driver who gave life-saving treatment to a motorist who had suffered a suspected heart attack at the wheel has been praised today by ambulance chiefs.

Kevin Robey, 55, of Rands Way in Ipswich, was taking a passenger to the JLS concert in Chantry Park on Sunday when he saw a car crash into a set of railings.

After witnessing the collision in Neptune Square near the Waterfront, Mr Robey, who worked as an emergency medical technician with the ambulance service between 1978 and 2003, went to check on the driver’s condition.

Mr Robey, who works for Beeline Cars, said the driver, a man in his 60s, was unconscious and soon after he arrived, he stopped breathing. It is believed he suffered a heart attack.

Mr Robey said: “He started going blue. I started doing CPR on him and he started breathing on his own but then he went off again and then he started vomiting so I cleared his airway and carried on until the ambulance came.”

Within eight minutes of being called an ambulance and a rapid response vehicle were on the scene.

Police were also called and the road had to be closed for about an hour while officers dealt with the incident.

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Mr Robey admitted the driver would probably have died if he had not received the CPR in time.

He added: “When I got there and opened the door, people kept saying to leave him alone. I told them I used to be a medic and if we didn’t get him out of the car he was going to die. I got myself into ambulance service mode. I wasn’t a taxi driver then – I was acting as an ambulance medic.”

Ambulance Service duty manager Paul Leach praised the work of everyone who helped at the scene.

He said: “It was a big team effort involving the driver of a taxi, a local doctor, police officers and other passers-by who came together and worked with our crews to help this casualty.

“The period of time between someone collapsing from cardiac arrest and getting their heart started again is the single most important factor to their survival. I would urge anybody to check out the British Heart Foundation’s Hard and Fast campaign and find out how to do it.”

Sian Stocker, a controller at Beeline, added: “He’s quite modest about it and he doesn’t think he’s done a lot but he has potentially saved someone’s life.”

Last night, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the driver was still undergoing treatment but it is understood he has been talking.

Are you a member of the driver’s family? E-mail starnews@archant.co.uk