‘A66 needs dualling now’ says Richmond man who saved baby after fatal crash

John Holliday, centre is presented with his commendation from Cleveland Police.

A man who helped save the life of a baby after a crash on the A66 which claimed the life of the boy’s father and brother says the road must be made safer.

John Holliday was awarded a commendation by Cumbria Police earlier this month for his bravery following the tragic accident in A66 near Crackenthorpe in Cumbria on May 25, 2015

John, 37, business manager at Ropers in Brompton-on-Swale, was driving along the road with his family in the car when he witnessed a collision between a Peugeot 307 and a lorry.

He and another motorist, Christopher Reed, rushed to the car  to check on the occupants.

Sadly, they found that the driver Michael Jopson, 25, and his 18-year-old month son Tony had died instantly.

However, they heard crying from the back seat and discovered a two-month old baby still alive.

The commendation from Cumbria Police reads: “Despite smoke coming out of the front of the vehicle and the fact that the car was unstable, Christopher crawled into the wreckage to rescue the baby while John supported the vehicle as best he could.

“Christopher found the baby suspended upside down in his child seat and he managed to remove him from the car whilst supporting his spine.

“Both men then cared for the baby at the roadside until the arrival of paramedics.”

The baby recovered from his injuries.

Michael Jopson and son Tony. Photo: Cumbria Police.

An inquest later found that the driver had probably crashed after being distracted by the children in the backseat.

John said he was still affected by the incident and said he was unsure whether to accept the award and another he received from the Humane Society given the circumstances.

However, he said he decided to accept the commendation to highlight just how dangerous the A66 was and how work needed to be done as a matter of urgency to make it safer.

Calling for the road to be turned into dual carriageway along its entire length, John said: “This road is absolutely lethal.

“It is one of the busiest routes east to west in the country and yet it is still single carriageway in places.

“It’s ignored by governments in terms of doing anything about it.

“If this road was down south it just wouldn’t be left like this.”

Richmondshire Today highlighted the incident to Rishi Sunak, Conservative Party candidate in the Richmond constituency, and asked him what could be done about it.

The candidate also praised Mr Holliday’s bravery.

He said: “This horrendous accident underlines the dangers of this road’s mix of dual and single carriageway sections.

“The Government has committed to upgrading the route to dual carriageway from Scotch Corner to Penrith and, if re-elected, I will push for the earliest possible start on the work.”

“In the meantime I will also press for interim safety measures at junctions, like the recent improvements I secured for Ravensworth.”