A Widnes woman has been reunited with the former police officer who rescued her from a crushed car that had collided with a lamp post in the town more than 40 years ago.
Mum-of-one and grandmother-of-two Angela Tudor says that she will forever be indebted to former PC Kevin Milnes for being her ‘guardian angel’ when she sustained multiple broken bones and head injuries as a result of the collision on Dundalk Road on 9 June 1979.
Unbeknown to Angela, Kevin sustained even more serious injuries after losing control of his police car on a sharp bend as he pursued a suspect in icy and foggy conditions in Great Sankey, Warrington, 10 years later.
He suffered severe brain damage as a result of the incident on 31 October 1989, which left him sitting in the car upside down in a ditch for hours before emergency services were made aware of the crash.
Kevin ended up spending several months in hospital, and the extensive injuries he sustained forced him to retire from Cheshire Constabulary on 5 September 1990.
His medical problems stemming from the crash have escalated over time and he is now paralysed down the left hand side of his body and unable to talk.
Angela became aware of Kevin’s crash and his subsequent disabilities after recognising him on a Widnes Police social media post several weeks ago.
She got in touch with the Police Community Support Officer who wrote the post on Monday 30 September 2019 about Kevin being presented with a speech-generating device donated by the North West Police Benevolent Fund to help him communicate with people.
The PCSO, Stephen Marnick, then arranged for Angela to meet and belatedly thank the 69-year-old at the residential care home he lives in.
Kevin initially did not recognise Angela during their reunion in Widnes on Tuesday 19 November 2019.
But towards the end of her visit something clicked in Kevin’s mind and he told Angela that he does remember her crash, even detailing the precise location in which it occurred.
Angela, 63, said: “It was a highly emotional experience meeting Kevin again after all these years.
“He was my guardian angel when I was in a car crash more than 40 years ago.
“I was knocked unconscious when the car I was in as a front seat passenger crashed into a lamp post.
“I sustained a fractured and dislocated ankle and also broke my pelvis and two bones in my leg.
“I woke up thinking that I was going to die, but thankfully Kevin was there to reassure and help me.
“He was so calm and professional and he got me out of the car so that I could be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
“I have never forgotten what he did for me that day, during what was probably the most frightening experience of my life.
“I will be forever indebted to him for it, and I am so pleased that I have been able to see him again and belatedly thank him for being so fantastic during my time of need.
“With him having sustained serious brain damage as a result of his own crash 10 years later, I can’t believe that he remembers my car accident way back in 1979.
“It was a particularly emotional moment when I realised that he remembered my accident, and it was so lovely seeing him again and talking to him.”
Kevin, who is from Oldham and worked as a traffic officer in Widnes, St Helens and Northwich, also enjoyed the reunion.
He said: “I really enjoyed being a police officer, and it is nice thinking back about all the people I helped whilst doing the job, including Angela.”
Kevin was once commended for excellent police work in effecting the arrest of two men in difficult circumstances.
Angela, who worked as a paramedic information assistant at Halton Hospital before retiring, added: “I only found out about Kevin’s crash recently. I have a good memory for faces and I instantly recognised him when I saw the post on the Widnes Police Facebook page.
“It is a cruel twist of fate that he was involved in such a serious crash 10 years after helping me when I had mine.
“I just hope that Kevin had a guardian angel of his own after his crash.
“Both crashes occurred on a sharp bend, which is one of many hazards that people face every time they drive.
“We all know that cars are deadly weapons, but it is only when you are involved in a crash yourself that you truly realise the importance of driving carefully and safely at all times.
“A split second on the roads can change your life and the lives of others forever.
“Thankfully I was able to fully recover from my crash and go on to become a mum and a grandmother.
“Many other people involved in crashes are not so lucky.”
More than twice as many people (46) died on Cheshire’s roads and motorways last year than they did in 2017.
So far this year 32 people have died on Cheshire’s roads and motorways.
In May Cheshire Constabulary launched its Fatal 5 campaign to highlight the five main causes of serious collisions.
They are careless driving, speeding, driving distracted while using a mobile phone (technology), drink/drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
For more information and advice for staying safe on Cheshire’s roads visit https://www.cheshire.police.uk