Prayers answered as hero saves the day

HERO Tony Woods, the man who went to the aid of a lorry driver who was inches away from death, today told how he covered his head and prayed as he heard the train approaching.

By Georgina James

HERO Tony Woods, the man who went to the aid of a lorry driver who was inches away from death, today told how he covered his head and prayed as he heard the train approaching.

Mr Woods, of Springfield Avenue, Lawford, was the first person on the scene of the accident in which a lorry hit a parapet of a bridge and plunged 40ft into the path of a freight train.

He said: "I managed to roll the driver away from the track and flung myself face down in the stinging nettles as the train crashed in to the cab.

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"There was a hell of a bang and I just prayed that the cab was not pushed into our path.

"Luck was thankfully on our side yesterday."

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Mr Woods, 35, an electrician, was on his way to Milton Keynes when he came across a lorry which had crashed on the A137 near Ardleigh.

"As we came around the corner, the lorry was on its side and half parked in a friend's garden.

"Me and my boss jumped out and I ran to the side of the vehicle where the cab should have been and it wasn't there. That was a real shock.

"I then heard someone calling for help.

"I looked over the bridge and the cab was lying in the middle of the railway track.

"I literally jumped down the embankment, through the stinging nettles, and got down to the man who was conscious.

"He told me he had managed to scramble out and he was lying right next to the line."

Mr Woods said he was not sure whether he should move the man because of possible injuries.

The driver told him he couldn't feel his hips or legs and their was a lot of blood on his face.

"Within a matter of seconds we heard the sound of a train and the screeching of brakes and I quickly rolled him away from the track and told him to cover his head with his arms. I then leaped out of the way and the train crashed into the cab," he said.

Mr Woods explained that although both he and the driver were not in the immediate path of the train, as it hit the cab, they were still in danger from the impact.

"Thankfully the cab was hit square on and was taken forward. If it had been hit at the slightest of angles we would both have been finished.

"Fortunately the driver had managed to climb out otherwise I would have been in the cab trying to get him out," said Mr Woods.

The father of three believes anyone who found themselves in the situation he did would have done exactly the same.

"I'd like to think if it had been me in there someone would have stopped to help," he said.

His proud wife, Michelle, 35, today spoke of her husband's heroics.

"His efforts don't surprise me at all. It's just the type of person he is. He wouldn't have thought twice about helping out even if it meant putting his own life at risk.

"Obviously I am extremely proud of him and grateful that he walked away from the incident unhurt.

"He put himself in danger and the possible consequences of his actions haven't really sunk in yet. I realise he too could have been hit," said Mrs Woods.

It's not the first time that Mr Woods has gone to the rescue of a road accident victim.

"He's done it before," said his wife.

She continued: "A woman was mangled and seriously injured in her car having been in collision with another vehicle in Colchester and he stayed with her until the ambulance arrived.

"On another occasion our dog fell in icy water and he went in after it.

"He just reacts to his instincts."

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