Car salesman received bravery award for saving test drive customer

A car salesman has been praised by police after he dragged a customer out of a burning vehicle that was being taken for a test drive.

Lee Christian, 37, was given a top bravery award from Cheshire’s Chief Constable Simon Byrne in recognition of saving the life of a Warrington stockbroker, who was involved in a high speed crash in August last year. The pair were test driving a new £245,000 McLaren 650S at the time when the potential buyer veered off the road and into a tree, before the vehicle then burst into flames.

Demonstration cover is a vital part of a dealer's combined motor trade insurance policy should they wish to provide test driving facilities. As long as the test driver has supplied a valid driver's licence and is accompanied by a member of staff, demonstration cover can provide insurance for the car being driven as well as other motorists on the road, just in case there should be an accident.

Mr Christian said of the incident: “After we impacted with the tree, my first thought was that I was okay, but when I looked across the driver looked in very bad way.

"The impact had ripped off the driver’s door and there were flames in the back of the car. I tried to make my escape through the passenger door but that was jammed, so I had to clamber over the stricken driver.”

The car dealer eventually pulled the driver out of the vehicle and carried him away from the burning wreckage. The driver, who spent weeks in hospital, is still recovering from his injuries including fractures to his shoulder, elbow and ankle and has been undergoing skin grafts, the Warrington Guardian reported. Mr Christian, who suffered a cut to the back of his head and burns, was back at work in the dealership within four weeks.

On delivering the award, Chief Constable Byrne said: “It was a selfless act in an extremely perilous scenario that put Lee’s own life at risk."