A Watford cabbie who pulled a pregnant woman and baby from a burning car wreck has been honoured with a bravery award for his heroic actions, reports the Watford Observer.
Azhar Shah witnessed the horror smash in Watford while driving his taxi just days before Christmas 2012.
The 44-year-old was overtaken by a car speeding at about 60 miles per hour through the cross roads. He saw the car crash into another vehicle crossing the junction with such force that the second car twisted around in the air and dropped down in smoke in the carriageway.
With disregard for his own life, Azhar ran to help the family – freeing an eight months pregnant woman as smoke continued to escape from the car engine.
He said: “A car shot past me going at 50 or 60mph. I knew it wasn’t going to stop. Another car was crossing the junction at that exact time and it smashed into it. The car hit twisted around in the air and dropped, there was smoke.
“I jumped out of my car and ran towards it, smoke was coming out the engine. One woman was eight months pregnant, it was a miracle no one was seriously hurt I was expecting there to be fatalities from the way it was hit.”
But when the shocked woman was safely in his taxi, sheltered from the cold, Azhar heard her screaming “my baby, where’s my baby?” The child was still in the burning car.
Knowing the car could explode at any time, Azhar raced back to pull out the baby from the mangled wreckage.
Last week, the taxi driver from West Watford, was presented with a certificate from the High Sheriff of Greater London, who makes awards twice a year to citizens who have given outstanding service in helping the police carry out their duties, for his courageous actions and a cheque for £250.
The dad-of-four said it was an honour to be recognised, but that it was human nature and instinct to help.
Azhar said: “If I had thought about it, I would have thought that car could blow at any time – I need to get away from here myself. But I didn’t, I just saw it was something serious and ran to help – it’s human nature I guess. I think most people would have that instinct. I was just caught up in that moment.
“I don’t think I did anything amazing, but it’s good to think I made a difference. There was a reason why I was there at that exact moment.”
The speeding car driver was taken to court by the police and Azhar’s call to the emergency services, which had recorded a lot of what he did to help that night, was played to the judge. The lady got a personal injury lawyer to get compensation for her injuries and trauma.
The judge then recommended Azhar for the award.
Azhar continued: “My children are very proud of me, my wife is proud of me, although she was a bit scared something serious could have happened to me. But the people in the car needed help, so I helped.”