A hero truck driver who blocked the M1 motorway to protect a woman whose car overturned was beeped at by angry motorists upset at delays.
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Darren DeMarco drove his lorry across all three lanes of the M1 to shield the hysterical, injured woman who was left dangling upside down after her car flipped over near the M18 intersection.
And incredibly, impatient drivers beeped their horns after the Doncaster nurse, 29, was left trapped inside the wreckage of her vehicle.
The woman, who does not wish to be identified, has praised Mr DeMarco for his heroics and said: “It was the worst few minutes of my life.
“I was waiting for someone else to hit me. I can’t thank this guy enough for what he did that day - he was my hero.”
The incident happened on the M1 last Friday near junction 32 - the turn off for the M18.
Mr DeMarco, 31, said vehicles hurtled around the flipped-over car as the crash victim hung upside down from her seatbelt with no one stopping to help.
But when the dad-of-one moved his 44-tonne lorry to shield the crash victim, other commuters got out their cars to demand he move it - complaining they had “places to be.”
Darren said he saw up to 10 vehicles shoot around the car as it lay on the northbound carriageway at 6.30am last Friday.
Darren, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, said: “If that was my missus or little boy in the car I wouldn’t be happy.
“People were just rushing past as they needed to get to work.
“How could people swerve round and drive off? How could they go to work knowing what happened and not stop?
“I couldn’t do it - I was furious.”
Darren, who went out to Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland with 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (22nd Cheshire Regiment) pulled across the lanes forcing traffic to stop.
He then leapt out of his cab and ran over to the black Honda Civic which had flipped onto its roof.
Advanced first aid trained Darren said he checked to see if there was any fuel around the car before opening the door and speaking to the woman.
Darren said: “As I was running over I could hear the lady hysterically screaming.
“Through being in Afghanistan where lads have been shot or blown up I was aware that sometimes you can’t feel injuries and have to look yourself to see if there’s blood.
“Luckily there wasn’t and she said she wasn’t hurt so I held her up as she unplugged herself so she wouldn’t hurt her neck and helped her get out of the car.”
Two men approached the car and rang the emergency services, but while Darren helped the crash victim out of the vehicle, two other men repeatedly demanded that he move his lorry as they had ‘places to be’.
Darren said: “While I was trying to get her out of the car two lads in their 20s or 30s came over and said ‘can you hurry up and move your lorry? We need to get past’.
“They asked two or three times, I told them they were going to have to wait. “I was five minutes in total, if that.” Once she was out of the vehicle, wrapped in a blanket and assured him she was ok, Darren claims that fed-up drivers started blasting their horns at him to move. When he heard the emergency service sirens and saw other people staying with her he said he decided to move his lorry to allow traffic to filter past.
Darren said: “I could hear people beeping behind the truck and I was starting to feel a bit of pressure.
“I asked the lady if she minded me taking a picture of the scene to prove to my office why I would be late, but she said it was fine.”
Darren then jumped back in his lorry and carried on towards Rotherham where he feared he would be delayed at his drop, but managed to land four minutes early.
Darren said: “The lady in the car rang my work to say thanks for helping her.
“I was pretty chuffed she did that, but I’m just glad she’s ok.
“I’ve been in worse situations - but just because you might be late for work doesn’t mean you can’t stop and potentially save a life.”
South Yorkshire Police said they had no record of the incident.