Car crash hero

The upturned car.
The upturned car.

CLARKSTON man Michael Oakley is a hero in the eyes of family and friends after rescuing two men from a car crash.

The 30-year-old, a singer in southside wedding band The Unknowns, was returning from a gig in Greenock in the early hours of November 19, when a car flew past on the dual carriageway.

Greenock sheriff court recently heard that the vehicle was being driven by Javier Yanguaez (32), a Panamanian ship engineer who was travelling along the A8 at 80 miles per hour with no lights on.

The driver — who said he had become lost while driving through Port Glasgow — ploughed into Woodhall roundabout at 2am on the Friday morning, overturning the car and crashing through the road barrier.

Fearing for the safety of Yanguaez and his one passenger, Michael asked band mate Iain McHardy to stop the car and rushed to their aid.

The southsider told The Extra: “We had flashed to tell him to put his lights on, but when he got to the roundabout he didn’t slow down.

“The car flew across the barrier and ended up on its back. We could see marks showing where it had skidded and a whole load of stuff strewn along the road — everything from a mobile phone to fast food wrappers”.

He continued: “I told Iain to stop and immediately ran over. I thought they might have been dead — it was just a horrendous sight. Luckily they were alright but I think the fuel tank had burst because the car smelled of petrol.

“The front of it had caught fire, so I had to drag the two of them out through the window and get them away from the car. One had broken his arm, but they weren’t too badly hurt considering”.

Yanguaez — who had been living in Inverclyde while on a fixed contract with a shipping firm — pleaded guilty to driving dangerously at excessive speed and failing to slow down at the roundabout, causing damage to the car and to street furniture.

Sheriff Tom Ward banned the engineer from driving for 20 months, and fined him £700 for the offence.

Michael’s proud dad meanwhile urged him to get in touch with The Extra to share his story, but for the wedding singer, it was a natural, rather than heroic, reaction.

He added: “If you see that kind of scene, your first reaction is to go out and help. You don’t think, you just react, and I’d like to think anyone else would do the same”.