A PCSO who bravely ran along a Peterborough parkway chasing a car travelling the wrong way before pulling the keys from the ignition has received a Chief Constable's Commendation.
Sallie Lunness (43) chased after the Toyota Corolla on the Fletton Parkway after driver Tahir Khalil (46) of Gladstone Street had carried out a U-turn in the middle of the road.
She became pinned against a lorry as she ran along the carriageway - which has a 70mph limit - before reaching through the driver’s window and removing the keys from the ignition, preventing a potentially devastating accident.
Last night, Thursday November 9, she was recognised at an awards ceremony and given the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Chief Constable's Commendation or preventing a potentially serious collision..
PCSO Lunness - who has been a PCSO since 2005, had been driving to work at about 7.30am on June 3 when she came across the incident.
She said: “I initially thought there had been an accident, as I saw the car facing sideways, and I called for an ambulance.
“Then I realised what had happened. I put my car in front of him so he could not move and went to speak to him.
“But then he pulled away and started going through traffic.
“I’ve seen horror stories on the news, and been to incidents with the job, and I ran after him.
“I was more concerned about what could happen to others than what could happen to me.
“Traffic had stopped, and he was making his way through it. I was banging on his window, but he kept on driving.
“I went round to the drivers side - I could feel the lorry on my back, it was so close.
“Luckily his window was open a couple of inches, and I could reach in and take the keys.
“I think he had missed his turning, and decided to go back to take it.”
Khalil was arrested at the scene, and charged with dangerous driving.
Despite the potential consequences, PSCO Lunness - who takes the route every day to work, and was suffering from a cold at the time - said she would not hesitate to do the same thing again.
She said: “I didn’t think about what I was doing - you just get on and do it.
“When I got home, my partner said I was an idiot. My colleagues all said I did the right thing though.
“I think it hit me a bit later that I could have been hurt, but I would do it again.”
Khalil pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen of breath at a hearing at Peterborough Crown Court.
He added: “This was an extremely brave act by the PCSO - she helped avoid what could have been an extremely serious multi-fatal accident. If someone had collided with the car at 70mph the consequences could have been horrendous.
Khalil was given a 38 week prison sentence, suspended for two years at Peterborough Crown Court after the father of two pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to give a sample of breath.