FIREFIGHTERS have praised the brave actions of a lorry driver after he rescued a young family from an overturned car by prising one of the doors off with his bare hands.
The Hartlepool family, which included six-month-old baby twins and a five-year-old girl, were travelling southbound on the A19 at 5pm yesterday when their Renault Megane Scenic hit a lamp-post, left the dual carriageway and flipped onto its roof.
An off-duty police officer raised the alarm while a passing lorry driver, who had seen what happened, pulled over and went to the family's rescue.
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Fire chiefs say he prised one of the doors off and took the mum, dad, five-year-old daughter and twin babies from the car and laid them on the grass embankment.
He then left the scene, which was close to the Peterlee turn-off, before crews from Peterlee Fire Station arrived.
Crew manager Kevin Croft said: "A lorry driver, who had seen it happen, pulled over and prised the door open and got the family out.
"He then calmly drove away before we arrived, so we have no idea who he was or where he was from.
"We wouldn't recommend it but his actions were very brave and he removed the family from danger."
The family were taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton. The mum had a deep cut to her forehead and was placed on a spinal board suffering from back injuries, the eldest daughter was also put on a spinal board, while the twins, a boy and a girl, were kept in their child seats to support their backs. The father was treated for shock.
Firefighters say the car was a write-off due to the heavy impact with the lamp-post.
The slow lane was closed while the incident was cleared but the fast lane remained open during rush hour.