Search

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

07:53 31 January 2014

Hero lorry driver Keith Di Palma (pic: Ellie Hoskins)

Hero lorry driver Keith Di Palma (pic: Ellie Hoskins)

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 Romford News Stories

Members of the Habbit Factory

A friendly and inclusive drama group are inviting children of all abilities to join.

Yesterday, 19:51
Travellers who set up camp in the closed park in OldChurch Road, Romford.

One man was arrested on suspicion of fly tipping and criminal damage as travellers were moved on from Oldchurch Park early this morning (Friday)

Yesterday, 18:29
Tony Cottee celebrates a goal for West Ham

West Ham “legend” Tony Cottee, will be visiting The Liberty Shopping Centre tomorrow for the opening of a betting shop.

Yesterday, 14:14
Officers line South Street as they prepare for revellers to leave Fiction nightclub

Sat in a police van, officers switch their gaze up and down Romford town centre watching for any disorder.

Yesterday, 13:59
Walthamstow Coroner's Court

A father-of-three whose body was found in a tree at a Romford school had a history of depression, an inquest has heard.

Yesterday, 13:25
Essex and East London Tangent club

If you are a woman interested in forming friendships and giving back to the community through charity work, then this club could be for you.

Yesterday, 12:06
Travellers who set up camp in the closed park in OldChurch Road, Romford.

A group of travellers were moved on from Oldchurch Park, Oldchurch Road, Romford, in the early hours of this morning by police.

Yesterday, 12:00
Residents of Ravenscourt Grove are upset that their homes may be deomolished

Relatives of older people living in sheltered housing have spoken of their concern after it was revealed many sites may be demolished or renovated.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

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

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now