Search

‘It could have been fatal’ Elm Park lorry driver prevents tragedy

07:41 31 January 2014

Hero Lorry driver Keith De Palm.

Hero Lorry driver Keith De Palm.

Archant

A hero lorry driver is credited with helping avoid a tragedy by shadowing a driver travelling the wrong way on a busy motorway for 10 miles and flashing warnings to oncoming traffic.

Keith Di Palma, 45, was driving his articulated truck when, to his horror, he spotted a car driving in the same direction as him – but on the other side of the carriageway.

Within seconds he devised a plan to warn oncoming drivers in an attempt to stop a deadly pile-up.

“I could see headlights on the wrong side of the carriageway,” said the father-of-two, of Diban Avenue, Elm Park. “I saw cars swerving out of the way so I started flashing my lights to get the driver’s attention.”

For about 10 miles Keith and another driver, who realised what he was doing and joined in to help, flashed their lights continually side-by-side as a warning to oncoming vehicles.

They drove level to the car on the wrong side of the motorway and, through various signals, managed to get the elderly driver to reduce his speed from 60mph to 30mph.

“There were a few near misses,” said Keith.

The cars behind Keith and the other van driver stayed well back so they would not block their signals to the oncoming cars.

The nerve-wracking ordeal, last week, came to an end when police closed off the southbound carriageway of the M6 near Coventry bringing the driver to a halt.

Keith, a Tigers Junior FC chairman, said. “He was taken to hospital and they said he had a serious medical condition.”

A tweet to Keith from Central Motorway Police Group praised his actions and that he had “certainly helped” to “avoid a tragedy”.

Keith, who works at Ford in Dagenham, said he would like to meet the van driver to say thank you for his help.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

30 minutes ago
Hall Mead school deputy head Jim Brooks is to retire

Top-grade students have helped their school receive national recognition for its GCSE success last year.

Yesterday, 17:32
Churches Together Upminster is set to hold a hustings event at Gaynes School tonight. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Churchgoers are set to quiz election candidates on the issues which matter to them.

Yesterday, 17:20
Barkingside Magistrates Court

A man has been charged with sexual activity with a child and abuse of a position of trust.

Yesterday, 17:15
Police were called to the scene

An elderly woman who died under suspicious circumstances has been named locally as Betty Harvey.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray, as well as a shiny new Sony Blu-ray player could be coming your way!

To celebrate the fifth series of George RR Martin and HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones, Ladbrokes is giving away a series one to four Blu-ray box set along with a Sony Blu-ray player to one lucky winner!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder