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Hero tow truck driver rescues young mom and son during storm

Kandria Carmichael and her son Ka’Maree Simmons (Photograph supplied)

A young mother and son whose car got stuck in mud at the height of this week’s storm yesterday praised a hero tow truck driver who came to her rescue after police said they could not help.

Kandria Carmichael, 29, and son Ka’Maree Simmons, 7, got bogged down after she drove down a dirt track in Devonshire on her way to deliver an item to a home, but found the route blocked by a fallen tree.

She said: “It was a very scary situation because of the weather conditions and the trees were falling down around us.

“My son was very scared and was laying on the floor between the seats.

“Even though he was scared he asked if he could get out of the car and to try to help.

“It was a long road and I was afraid if we got out of the car a tree would fall on us.”

Ms Carmichael, known as Kandi and a receptionist at La Trattoria restaurant in Hamilton, said she called police for help but they told her they could not assist.

She said: “I was trying to explain to them it could have been a life and death situation.

“The police service told me to call a towing company, so I did.

“A few answered and said they are not working in this weather.

“My phone battery was getting low and I was getting very scared.

”I called the police service back to let them know trees were still falling.

“They told me to get out of the car and walk to the road and try to look for a taxi, but I felt the safest place for us was in the car.”

Ms Carmichael, from St David’s said she was at last able to get through to Paynter’s Towing and Salvage, where owner Justin Paynter said he would get there as fast as possible.

She added: “He was there in less than eight minutes.

“He tried to put something under my tyre so I could drive away but it didn’t work.

“He assessed the situation then tied my car to his vehicle … he told me how to turn my steering wheel and he pulled me out of the mud.

“I asked him how I go about paying and he said ’don’t worry about it, I’m just glad you are safe’.

“It was a heartfelt situation, my son was really happy.”

Ms Carmichael said Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley had paid her a personal visit and she had accepted his apology for the service’s failure to respond to her plight.

Mr Paynter, a civilian police employee, played down his role in the rescue yesterday.

He said: “I am humbly surprised but this is what I do. I know the area and I thought I wouldn’t want my mother or sister to be left there.

“I was impressed with her son – at just seven he was eager to help her and do whatever he could to keep mummy safe.”

Mr Paynter added: “I’ve had enough training to know the limits – I was confident in what I could do.

I am a mechanic by trade, I started off with the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service 22 years ago and I was an apprentice mechanic with them for three years.

“I am now at the BPS as fleet manager – head mechanic. The towing service is my private business.”

Mr Paynter said: “My truck was built to do that work. I used a four-wheel drive vehicle – a Toyota Land Cruiser.

“It was a tight area and there was a tree in front of her. It could have turned out differently for her. She was very grateful.”

Ms Carmichael was stuck on the road for about an hour before Mr Paynter pulled the car free.

Mr Corbishley said: “I have personally apologised to her, as I consider the BPS let her down in regards to the situation she found herself in …”.

“We are looking into how this happened and will make sure such a situation does not happen again.

“When people find themselves in vulnerable situations, as Kandi was with her young son, we should be there to respond, not least as she found herself within the middle of a horrible storm.

“It is vitally important that when we make a mistake we should accept that and seek to do better therefore I have no hesitation in apologising.

“I am pleased Mr Paynter, who is a BPS employee, was there to help, albeit his community gesture was not tasked.”

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Published January 30, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 29, 2021 at 8:18 pm)

Hero tow truck driver rescues young mom and son during storm

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