Matlock Good Samaritan hailed for saving life of hit-and-run victim

Derbyshire High Sheriff David Coleman hails James Harrison.

Derbyshire High Sheriff David Coleman hails James Harrison.

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A Good Samaritan who saved the life of a hit-and-run victim has been hailed with a special award.

Nigel Smith, of Ashover, was moments from death after the horror crash on the A632 Matlock to Chesterfield road in February 2013.

Mr Smith – who decided to abandon his car because of the hazardous conditions and attempt to walk home – was left lying in snow and freezing temperatures after being hit by a van.

A number of cars drove past Mr Smith but shockingly ignored him.

However, hero James Harrison, who was driving home from work at the time, immediately stopped when he saw bloodied Mr Smith and came to his aid.

James, of Lea Bridge, near Matlock, said: “I’ll never forget that night.

“It was -10C and snowing and I was driving home from Chesterfield when I saw Nigel lying in the road.

“He was using his hand to try and get people to stop and help him but several cars went straight past him, which just absolutely beggars belief.

“How could anyone not stop and help a vulnerable person in a situation like that?

“I didn’t think twice – I got out right away, put Nigel in the car and took him home.”

Mr Smith was then taken to hospital where he was given surgery on his arm.

Electrical engineer James, who is originally from Bakewell, added: “The weather was so bad that night – Nigel’s skin was ice cold.

“Things could have been very different – Nigel could have lost his life.”

On Monday night, James received an award for his heroism from David Coleman, the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, during a special ceremony in Derby.

James, 34, said: “I feel very proud to be honoured in this way.

“It was simply an act of good Samaritan kindness that I hope would be reciprocated if I was in a similar venerable position.

“I would never hesitate to do the same again for anyone,” he added.

The van driver gave himself up to police and was arrested.

He was later convicted of careless driving.

Mr Coleman said: “This is a true Good Samaritan story.

“James stopped, in dark and dreadful weather conditions, in an isolated rural spot, to help someone he had never met but who was in trouble.

“Rather than simply calling for help, even though weather and road conditions were worsening rapidly, he got the victim to safety and then went out of his way to take him home to his loved ones, thus making his own homeward journey much more difficult. He has been quite rightly commended for his public-spirited actions which quite possibly saved the victim’s life.”

Find out more about the role of High Sherrif at www.derbyshirehighsheriff.co.uk