Police officers awarded for saving lives after drunk-driver crash on A43 near Brackley

Three police officers have been awarded for their response to a crash on the A43 near Brackley last year, described as one of the worst they had ever seen.

Officers and members of the public were commended for their outstanding contributions to complex investigations and lifesaving actions at Thames Valley Police's Chief Constable awards ceremony on Monday (April 8).

PCs Gavin Morgan, Evonne Letch and Barry Payne with their chief constable commendation certificates. Photo: Thames Valley Police

PCs Gavin Morgan, Evonne Letch and Barry Payne with their chief constable commendation certificates. Photo: Thames Valley Police

PCs Gavin Morgan, Evonne Letch and Barry Payne received commendations for saving and comforting severely injured and distressed children and adults as the first to arrive at the scene outside their patch.

On receiving the award, PC Payne said: “It is an honour to receive an award doing what we’re trained to do.

"Luckily the three of us knew what our strengths were and we had the trust in each other to deal with such a traumatic scene.”

On April 15, 2018, a vehicle driven by a drunk man hit the centre of the roundabout for the B4031 and A421 at speed, risen in the air over the roundabout and crashed into a tree before the engine caught fire, police said.

All of the winners from the Thames Valley Police Chief Constable's award ceremony with Chief Constable John Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg, and Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld

All of the winners from the Thames Valley Police Chief Constable's award ceremony with Chief Constable John Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg, and Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld

One of the occupants, a seven-year-old child, was trapped in the back while the driver had been thrown from the vehicle on impact and another child and an adult managed to free themselves - all with serious injuries and in great distress.

PC Morgan was alone on scene for approximately ten minutes, in which he prioritised trying to free the child from the burning vehicle.

PCs Letch and Payne arrived on scene to console and administer first aid to the passengers for a further ten minutes prior to ambulance and fire services arriving.

They took immediate action to try to free the trapped child, to commence effective treatment to the injured victims, and comfort the children suffering trauma.

The severity of the injuries sustained by the casualties’ gave a good indication of what the officers were faced with and it is without a doubt that their actions prevented more serious deterioration, a police spokesman said.

PC Letch said: “In my ten years’ service as a police officer this road traffic collision was one of the worst I have ever seen.

"I'm so thankful that with time the family will recover from the injuries sustained. In my eyes I did nothing more or different to any of the amazing police officers and staff I work with, and it’s a true testament to the fantastic work the fire and ambulance service did who also attended the incident.

"If any message can be learnt from this incident it’s the true dangers of drink driving. If you are going to drive, don't drink, and if you’re doing to drink don't drive.”

Thames Valley Police’s new Chief Constable, John Campbell, and new Deputy Chief Constable, Jason Hogg, hosted the event at the force's training centre alongside guest speaker police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.

Charlie and Jake Holt also received chief constable commendations, while 13 officers and staff members were given long service awards, and three got certificates of service.

Chief Constable Campbell said: “As always these events are a wonderful celebration of long service for officers, staff and volunteers, as well as recognising those who go above and beyond.

"It’s also a chance to give a final thank you and farewell to those who have completed their service.

"It’s always wonderful to see families and friends as we couldn’t police without their support and love.”