Former Castle Vale Police Sergeant Pat McErlean has been given a bravery award for saving the life of a man who was fleeing from the police in Castle Vale.
Last January, a group of men entered Castle Vale in a stolen car. They were picked up by CCTV cameras, who directed the police, including a helicopter, towards the car.
The men abandoned the car and raced across fields in pitch darkness. One of them tried to jump across the River Tame but became trapped in thick mud. Sergeant McErlean used his knowledge of the local area to lead his team towards the trapped man, with help from heat detecting equipment that was able to pick up the fast falling levels of heat from the trapped man’s body.
Sergeant McErlean and his four colleagues tied together the restraints usually used to arrest people, and used them as a makeshift line.They threw it to the man and dragged him to safety.
One of the officers described just how close the man came to freezing to death.
Sergeant Nicklin said: “From the man’s chest down the helicopter could not pick up a heat source. He was unable to move and was shaking uncontrollably when we got him out but after some first aid he soon started to recover and realise how lucky he had been. Had he stopped in there for much longer I’m sure his body would have been unable to cope with the cold and he would have lost his fight to stay alive.”
The man made a full recovery but was given an 18 week sentence for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
Sergeant McErlean and seven other officers, along with air support crew, have received the Chief Constable’s Award for their actions.