Bravery Nomination for North Yorkshire officer
9:07am 7th July 2011
A heroic officer who saved man from being crushed to death nominated for National Police Bravery Award
PC John O'Malley was called to Staxton Hill, a notorious accident black spot due to its steep gradient, to attend an incident where a transit van had come off the road.
As he got halfway up Staxton Hill it was apparent that a number of vehicles were trapped due to rapid heavy snowfall which made the road almost impassable.
Road conditions were so bad that PC O'Malley struggled to control his vehicle and could not drive it any further. Having left the PCSO who was with him at the bottom of the hill to stop traffic ascending, PC O'Malley walked up the hill to find there was a mile tailback of traffic unable to come down due to the treacherous conditions.
There were also vehicles trapped at various stages on the downward slope unable to move.
Highways were called to attend with a grit lorry.
When they arrived, PC O'Malley and PC Richardson spent considerable time gritting the road surface so that cars could get some traction.
Matters were made worse when the recovery vehicle arrived for the transit van but could not move until Highways and police were happy with the road conditions.
At this point the only other vehicles preventing the mile long tailback from moving were two cars positioned at 90 degrees across the road.
A member of the public got out of his car and offered to assist with moving the first of these cars. The road was still extremely icy and it was difficult to remain standing.
PC O'Malley and the male were pushing the car off the verge, whilst the driver of the other vehicle stood between his car and the top of the hill.
The grit lorry started its descent when suddenly the driver lost traction as he approached the scene of the road traffic accident.
The gritter slid out of control and gained momentum. PC O'Malley saw the danger and shouted a warning to the driver and member of the public, one of whom managed to jump clear.
The second male was not as quick to react and the gritter collided with both vehicles smashing them into each other and knocking one of the drivers directly into the path of the gritter.
PC O'Malley jumped back onto the carriageway between the two colliding vehicles and grabbed the male by his hood, lifting him straight off the ground and out of the way before the vehicles collided and the gritter crashed into them.
PC O'Malley courageously ran from his position of safety into the path of the gritter, saving the man's life. Remarkably, after this, he remained at the scene for a further hour to clear the backed-up traffic.
PC O'Malley and his wife Katherine will be meeting Yorkshire MPs at a reception on Wednesday 6th July 2011 and the following day they will be meeting the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
Assistant Chief Constable, Sue Cross will be showing her level of support for PC O'Malley by accompanying him to the awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel on 7th July 2011.
The day after the awards ceremony I am delighted to say that Baroness Harris of Richmond will be meeting PC O'Malley and his wife for tea at the House of Lords, and I thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to arrange this.
Mark Botham Chairman of North Yorkshire Police Federation says:
"I had no hesitation in nominating PC O'Malley for the award. He clearly acted in the highest traditions of the service and is a credit to North Yorkshire Police and the police service in general.
I wish him every success at the awards ceremony in July and am pleased that the Assistant Chief Constable and Baroness Harris have made time to show their recognition of the great service done by this very brave officer".
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