Lorry driver hailed for saving life of man on motorway bridge

A lorry driver has been praised after stopping his truck to save the life of a man intending to jump from a motorway bridge.

Quick-thinking Wallasey resident, Kieran Walsh, sprang into action when he saw the man on a bridge above the M1 in South Yorkshire in the early hours.

Kieran tried to calm the man, then told him he was just going to step away and call his office to let colleagues know he was delayed – but instead he rang the police.

The man then tried to climb over the barrier but Kieran ran back, grabbed him around the chest and used his strength to restrain him. Another member of the public then stopped and helped Kieran keep hold of the man until officers arrived.

Now Kieran, who works for Kinaxia Logistics, has been recognised by his company with a new ‘Moments that Matter’ award.

The citation on Kieran’s certificate says: “For stopping and helping someone when they needed it the most. You literally made a life-changing decision. Everyone at Kinaxia is so proud of you”.

The drama happened just after 1am on Tuesday, April 11 shortly after Kieran had set off in his 44-tonne Mercedes-Benz Actros lorry from consumer delivery specialist Evri’s distribution hub in Barnsley.

Kieran is based at Mark Thompson Transport’s depot in Appleton, Warrington, and was heading back there with a full load. He said, “As I approached the junction where the road crosses the M1, I saw a pedestrian who appeared to be walking towards the bridge. I looped round to have another look at him to see whether he was okay.

“As I came around the second time, I saw him leaning over the barrier above the southbound carriageway of the motorway. I stopped alongside him, put on my hazard warning lights and tried to speak to him from the cab. I didn’t get a response after three attempts, so I put on my high-vis jacket, turned off the engine and walked to him.

“I tried not to make him panic or worried, and told him I was going to call the office just so they knew where I was, but stepped away to actually call the police.

“At this point, he started to try to climb the barrier. I grabbed him with an arm around his chest, holding him very tightly, with my phone in my other hand as I spoke to the emergency operator.

“The man tried to climb the barrier three or four times, and another member of the public who was driving past and had seen what was happening stopped to help, and we managed to hang on to him. All the while, I stayed on the phone until the police arrived to take over.”

Kieran, who is 5ft 9in, added, “I hope he is okay. I just felt it was the right thing to do. My mum has always told me to be the best person I can, and someone needed help. I didn’t think about myself.

“Everyone has kept saying that I’m a hero, but I don’t see it that way. I was lucky to be there when I was. I’m also extremely grateful to the other driver. I didn’t get his details at the time, but would like to thank him for stopping to help.”

(L-R) Richard Smith, driver Kieran Walsh, and Michael Spence

Richard Smith, Kinaxia’s group managing director said, “We are humbled by the actions that Kieran took to assist someone when they were most in need.

“It would have been very easy to just drive past and not give a second thought, but Kieran showed the foresight and humanity to turn his vehicle around and see if this member of public was okay.

“Through his actions, he undoubtedly made a difference and saved a life. Everyone at Kinaxia Logistics is very proud of Kieran – he is a role model for all the drivers in our business.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said, “Police were called at 1.07am on Tuesday 11 April by a member of the public reporting concerns for the welfare of an individual at a roundabout over the M1. Upon officer arrival, the individual was brought to a place of safety. Nobody was injured during the incident.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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