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‘It was like a scene from an all-action movie’ - hero lorry driver saves motorist’s life in A47 drama

Stills from dash-cam footage of the incident where Russell Dagless, 2nd left, had safely guided the stricken van with an unconscious driver into the central fencing with his truck and trailer. Picture: Courtesy of Duffields

Stills from dash-cam footage of the incident where Russell Dagless, 2nd left, had safely guided the stricken van with an unconscious driver into the central fencing with his truck and trailer. Picture: Courtesy of Duffields

Courtesy of Duffields

A lorry driver was acting on “pure instinct” when he saved a motorist’s life and almost certainly prevented a multiple pile-up.

Russell Dagless who has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum for his quick-thinking action, in safely guiding a van with an unconscious driver into the central road fencing to a stop, which saved the motorist's life and almost certainly prevented a multiple pile-up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRussell Dagless who has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum for his quick-thinking action, in safely guiding a van with an unconscious driver into the central road fencing to a stop, which saved the motorist's life and almost certainly prevented a multiple pile-up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In what has been described as “like a scene from an all-action movie” Russell Dagless, 53, put his life on the line when he saw the driver of a van slumped at the wheel of his moving vehicle crashing into the central barrier on the A47 at North Tuddenham, near Dereham.

He has just received a top award for his incredible bravery.

Mr Dagless was driving an articulated lorry at about 4pm on January 20 when he saw the van start to swerve and crash into the central reservation.

As he drove past the van, which was bouncing off the barrier, the driver appeared to be unconscious so he used his own vehicle to trap it against the safety barrier and bring it to a halt.

Stills from dash-cam footage of the incident where Russell Dagless, 2nd left, had safely guided the stricken van with an unconscious driver into the central fencing with his truck and trailer. Picture: Courtesy of DuffieldsStills from dash-cam footage of the incident where Russell Dagless, 2nd left, had safely guided the stricken van with an unconscious driver into the central fencing with his truck and trailer. Picture: Courtesy of Duffields

He and others then gave the van driver, who it was suspected had suffered bleeding on the brain, first aid until an ambulance arrived.

Police later said that not only had Mr Dagless saved the driver’s life by acting as he did but that he had also prevented a possibly worse accident involving other vehicles.

Now Mr Dagless, who works as a driver for Ben Burgess plant and machinery hire in Martineau Lane, Norwich, has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum – one of its highest awards.

Mr Dagless, a father-of-one from Post Office Lane, Saxthorpe, said: “The guy collapsed at the wheel.

“I put my trailer up against the side of his vehicle and brought him to a standstill.

“With the drivers of the two cars behind, we got him out of the vehicle. It was pure instinct - it just had to be done.

“In the light of what’s been happening recently, with the terror attacks in London and Manchester, I think they’ve gone a bit over the top. But it’s nice to get the award.”

Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society, said: “This was like a scene from an all-action movie. It showed incredible courage and resourcefulness to instantly assess the scene and take the action he did.

“This incident could have resulted in carnage but instead no-one was hurt and only two vehicles were involved, thanks to the amazing action of Mr Dagless. He richly deserves the award.”

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