Award for hero’s ‘selfless actions’

A MAN who came to the aid of a stricken female motorist when her car spun off the road and rolled down an embankment has received an award for his bravery.

On the morning of Friday, January 29, last year former Review advertising executive Zara Higgins (24) was travelling on the B9113 road between Forfar and Montrose when she lost control of the car on black ice.

The car spun down the embankment before landing on its roof in three feet of icy water trapping Miss Higgins inside.

Eric Reid (56), of Portlethen, near Aberdeen, happened to be driving past the scene at the time and he promptly raced to help.

Mr Reid climbed down the embankment and waded into the freezing cold water towards the overturned car.

He quickly broke a branch that was blocking the driver’s side door and was able to clear the area. He then pulled the door open and helped Miss Higgins out of the car before police officers arrived shortly afterwards.

The road was quiet at the time of the incident and, as the car landed on its roof about 15 feet below road level, it is unlikely that it would have been noticed in the water by other passing motorists.

Furthermore, during the time officers were dealing with the incident, the car sank another foot into the water which had begun to re-freeze around the vehicle.

A Tayside Police spokesman said: “Due to Mr Reid’s prompt and selfless actions, the woman was rescued from her vehicle as quickly as possible and, in recognition of this, he has been awarded a Testimonial on Parchment by the Committee of the Royal Humane Society.”

Upon receiving his award Mr Reid said: “I didn’t hesitate - it could have been my own daughter and that’s all I was thinking about.

“It was only when the police ‘phoned later and told me the car was sinking I realised what could have happened but I would do it again, you must do things like that.

“I had seen it was a young girl in the car so I didn’t think twice, I just stopped and jumped out to help.

“I went into the water but I didn’t know how deep it would get - the car was about 20 metres away and I thought I might even have to swim.

“I jumped on top of the car and that’s when I heard someone trying to force the door and I knew she was still alive.

“I shouted not to panic and that there was a branch blocking the door and I would shift it and get her out.

“I managed to do that and then I had to jump back into the water and carry her over to the road.”