EXCLUSIVE: Police chief - How I helped drag woman free from horror smash, and my sadness for man I couldn't save

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh was the first man on the scene

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh was the first man on the scene

First published in News
Last updated

ESSEX’S top police officer has exclusively talked about the role he played in saving the life of a young mum after a horrific crash.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh was the first man on the scene when a Corvette collided with an Astra and burst into flames, in Essex Regiment Way, Chelmsford.

Mr Kavanagh also spoke of his sadness at being unable to save Terrence Harrington, 67, from Chelmsford, the driver of the Corvette, who died at the scene.

The smash, on Sunday, April 13, also left a couple aged 30, and two girls, three and 18 months, in hospital.

They have since been released and the family are now recovering at their home in Great Dunmow.

Mr Kavanagh said, in his 29 years in the force, it was the most tragic incident he had ever witnessed.

Mr Kavanagh said: “I was on a Sunday afternoon drive and offduty, but saw the flames on the road up ahead and put on the blue lights to get to the scene.

“The man was trapped, and the woman in the other car was also trapped, but I just couldn't get to the guy in the Corvette.

“We were concerned the woman’s Astra was going to go up in flames, so two members of the public helped me to open the back door of the Astra to protect us from the heat of the Corvette.

“We dragged the woman out of the Astra, she was semi-conscious, and we managed to save her, and members of the public had already got to the husband and the two children.

“By the time we got the woman out and managed to get her back to a safe distance, the Corvette was just a mass of flames.”

Anyone with information on the crash can call police on 101.

Comments (14)

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8:45am Thu 15 May 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

Well done Sir: and good on you:
AVPG:
Well done Sir: and good on you: AVPG: A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 28

10:05am Thu 15 May 14

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly? Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: -29

10:22am Thu 15 May 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
Quite incorrect actually and rather rude to one of the most senior officials in the county.
Senior Officers at this level are basically on duty all the time 24/7:
There issue private vehicles are equipped with all the necessary blue & two kit and accoutrements.
This goes for The chief of the fire brigade and the head of the ambulance service.
heads of other top sections also have the same facility and requirement available to them.
I would not call the Chief Officer "out on a jolly" either. These people are generally deadly serious about the work they do.
Think of George Cowley C.I.5. In his red Ford Granada:
[quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?[/p][/quote]Quite incorrect actually and rather rude to one of the most senior officials in the county. Senior Officers at this level are basically on duty all the time 24/7: There issue private vehicles are equipped with all the necessary blue & two kit and accoutrements. This goes for The chief of the fire brigade and the head of the ambulance service. heads of other top sections also have the same facility and requirement available to them. I would not call the Chief Officer "out on a jolly" either. These people are generally deadly serious about the work they do. Think of George Cowley C.I.5. In his red Ford Granada: A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 46

12:15pm Thu 15 May 14

mikgrays says...

Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
As an inspector his car is his to use as you would any company car,it is not a patrol car.
[quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?[/p][/quote]As an inspector his car is his to use as you would any company car,it is not a patrol car. mikgrays
  • Score: 3

12:19pm Thu 15 May 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

mikgrays wrote:
Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
As an inspector his car is his to use as you would any company car,it is not a patrol car.
I thought his rank was Chief Constable?
Inspector is some Pips well below the pecking order.
AVPG:
[quote][p][bold]mikgrays[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?[/p][/quote]As an inspector his car is his to use as you would any company car,it is not a patrol car.[/p][/quote]I thought his rank was Chief Constable? Inspector is some Pips well below the pecking order. AVPG: A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Thu 15 May 14

Kim Gandy says...

Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
And that's your idea of a compliment?

Have you ever been put in a life or death situation?

if you had you'd know you make quick decisions based on how to preserve life and if it doesn't fit the rule book so be it.

Well done that man.
[quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?[/p][/quote]And that's your idea of a compliment? Have you ever been put in a life or death situation? if you had you'd know you make quick decisions based on how to preserve life and if it doesn't fit the rule book so be it. Well done that man. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 14

6:49pm Thu 15 May 14

runwellian says...

Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
Well done, right time, right place.

However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?
Who the hell cares, a young woman is alive today that would have burned to death in her car and here we have plebs nit picking about a police officer using a police car that risked his life to save a life.

Let woman whose life he saved decide have a say, what he drove doesn't is not the point, how he got there doesn't matter, what his job is doesn't matter ... ask that young woman!

Pathetic comments!
[quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: Well done, right time, right place. However, as he was on a Sunday drive and also off duty it appears he was driving a police car? Blue lights are authorised for emergency vehicles only? Has he got or given himself some form of dispensation or was he just out on a jolly?[/p][/quote]Who the hell cares, a young woman is alive today that would have burned to death in her car and here we have plebs nit picking about a police officer using a police car that risked his life to save a life. Let woman whose life he saved decide have a say, what he drove doesn't is not the point, how he got there doesn't matter, what his job is doesn't matter ... ask that young woman! Pathetic comments! runwellian
  • Score: 12

8:02pm Thu 15 May 14

Natter says...

Well done, risking your own safety to save a family. Extremely sad for the family of the poor man who didn't survive the accident.
Well done, risking your own safety to save a family. Extremely sad for the family of the poor man who didn't survive the accident. Natter
  • Score: 1

8:24pm Thu 15 May 14

blockpaver says...

Well done to you, a brave man.

Why shouldn’t a person with this responsibility get £200,000 a year, excellent pension arrangements, and a provided, fully funded vehicle? All the other bosses do.
Well done to you, a brave man. Why shouldn’t a person with this responsibility get £200,000 a year, excellent pension arrangements, and a provided, fully funded vehicle? All the other bosses do. blockpaver
  • Score: 0

10:29am Fri 16 May 14

SLord90 says...

I've had the chance to meet this man and work along side him, he is fantastic, and for all the negative comments, whats the point?
Imagine if that was your family? would you not want him to help?
I've had the chance to meet this man and work along side him, he is fantastic, and for all the negative comments, whats the point? Imagine if that was your family? would you not want him to help? SLord90
  • Score: 7

6:26pm Fri 16 May 14

J Arthur Rank says...

The report suggests a good professional job done by the CC as one would expect of any police officer. I'd rather have a man like this dealing with a life and death situation than the supposedly all-powerful yet superfluous to requirements Policing and Crime Commissioner any day. The PCC would probably still be trying to find someone to get him clean underwear.
The report suggests a good professional job done by the CC as one would expect of any police officer. I'd rather have a man like this dealing with a life and death situation than the supposedly all-powerful yet superfluous to requirements Policing and Crime Commissioner any day. The PCC would probably still be trying to find someone to get him clean underwear. J Arthur Rank
  • Score: 0

7:49am Sat 17 May 14

stevedawson says...

Obvious stated, but well done old plod.
Obvious stated, but well done old plod. stevedawson
  • Score: -3

7:21pm Sat 17 May 14

alarminstaller says...

This is a real Policeman achieved his rank by starting at the bottom and working his way to the top, you name it he has done it or seen it.

Unlike that PCC a politically elected by less than 25% of the population a Police Chief who's experience serving in the Royal Navy is commendable but not enough to go straight in to the top.

We will soon have a complete privatisation of the Police star things with PCSO's and soon the real possibility of a private company dealing with Child abuse and also GS4 who completed the security at the Olympics and I am sure we know shaft a fiasco that was.

So this Chief of Essex should be treated like an endangered species soon to be replaced by accelerated entry candidates with no experience.

Policing and Political control is a dangerous route to take.
This is a real Policeman achieved his rank by starting at the bottom and working his way to the top, you name it he has done it or seen it. Unlike that PCC a politically elected by less than 25% of the population a Police Chief who's experience serving in the Royal Navy is commendable but not enough to go straight in to the top. We will soon have a complete privatisation of the Police star things with PCSO's and soon the real possibility of a private company dealing with Child abuse and also GS4 who completed the security at the Olympics and I am sure we know shaft a fiasco that was. So this Chief of Essex should be treated like an endangered species soon to be replaced by accelerated entry candidates with no experience. Policing and Political control is a dangerous route to take. alarminstaller
  • Score: -2

9:23am Sun 18 May 14

Rhinestone Cowboy* says...

alarminstaller wrote:
This is a real Policeman achieved his rank by starting at the bottom and working his way to the top, you name it he has done it or seen it.

Unlike that PCC a politically elected by less than 25% of the population a Police Chief who's experience serving in the Royal Navy is commendable but not enough to go straight in to the top.

We will soon have a complete privatisation of the Police star things with PCSO's and soon the real possibility of a private company dealing with Child abuse and also GS4 who completed the security at the Olympics and I am sure we know shaft a fiasco that was.

So this Chief of Essex should be treated like an endangered species soon to be replaced by accelerated entry candidates with no experience.

Policing and Political control is a dangerous route to take.
Most of your point is fair Alarm- But what you have said about Nick Alston is a little wrong mate: Nicks dad was Deputy Chief constable in Essex in the 80's.
Nick himself was a Naval Officer in Intelligence, then got a top Job in Whitehall probably the SIS/MI6: The combination of CC Kavanagh & PCC Alston is possibly the best paring in the country, we can consider ourselves very lucky in Essex. Look it is far better than Roger Baker & Robert "Pursey" Stevens in your pursey (The One Liner) response. Those were very bad dark days and the effects of them have still not worn off.
Good on you Chief, the whole county is behind you both.
[quote][p][bold]alarminstaller[/bold] wrote: This is a real Policeman achieved his rank by starting at the bottom and working his way to the top, you name it he has done it or seen it. Unlike that PCC a politically elected by less than 25% of the population a Police Chief who's experience serving in the Royal Navy is commendable but not enough to go straight in to the top. We will soon have a complete privatisation of the Police star things with PCSO's and soon the real possibility of a private company dealing with Child abuse and also GS4 who completed the security at the Olympics and I am sure we know shaft a fiasco that was. So this Chief of Essex should be treated like an endangered species soon to be replaced by accelerated entry candidates with no experience. Policing and Political control is a dangerous route to take.[/p][/quote]Most of your point is fair Alarm- But what you have said about Nick Alston is a little wrong mate: Nicks dad was Deputy Chief constable in Essex in the 80's. Nick himself was a Naval Officer in Intelligence, then got a top Job in Whitehall probably the SIS/MI6: The combination of CC Kavanagh & PCC Alston is possibly the best paring in the country, we can consider ourselves very lucky in Essex. Look it is far better than Roger Baker & Robert "Pursey" Stevens in your pursey (The One Liner) response. Those were very bad dark days and the effects of them have still not worn off. Good on you Chief, the whole county is behind you both. Rhinestone Cowboy*
  • Score: -2

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