TWO officers who managed to safely stop a car driving the wrong way down the motorway to prevent ‘Christmas Day carnage’ have won a bravery award.

At 3am on Christmas Day 2020, police received a call saying that a vehicle was travelling the wrong way on the M4 motorway.

Thames Valley officers PC Mark Martin-Dye and PC Callum Bushell headed towards the incident with their blue lights on. They drove down lane two and saw a car heading towards them in lane three.

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PC Martin-Dye, who was driving the police car, slowed down and activated the sirens to let the driver of the offending vehicle know they were there.

He moved the police car slightly towards lane three to encourage the other car to stop, but there was no obvious reaction from the driver.

Instead, PC Martin-Dye decided to make tactical contact with the offending vehicle to bring it to a stop.

Timing his driving, he drove towards the offending vehicle and let it pass to his offside, then turned in to make contact with the rear offside of the vehicle.

The two vehicles collided, causing the offending vehicle to travel approximately 50m before coming to a stop in lane one, facing the wrong way. 

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The police car sustained serious damage to its front wheel, but PC Martin-Dye was able to get it into position behind the offending vehicle to provide cover from oncoming traffic.

Although the speed of the offending car was over 50mph at the point of impact, the angle was acute and, as a result, no injuries occurred to any party.

PC Bushell extracted the driver from the offending vehicle, while PC Martin-Dye closed off lanes one and two. Several other units attended to assist.

The offending driver blew zero in a breath test and provided a negative drug wipe but she displayed erratic and confused behaviour. She was later detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to hospital. 

As a result, the two officers won awards in the Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Awards.

 “I’m just really pleased that no one was hurt at the end of the day,” said PC Martin-Dye said. “The tactic worked about as well as it could have done.

“It helps that we have training – not at that sort of speed and not head-on, but it’s not the first time I’ve used tactical contact. I realised later how dangerous the situation was.”

PC Bushell added: “In that kind of situation you’re a pair and you have to rely on each other. I knew my job and he knew his.

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“Once I had time to digest everything, I realised that things could have gone another way. It was Christmas Day, I had two young kids and Mark’s got family as well.

“But had we not done that, a member of the public could well have had their family’s Christmas turned upside down. It was probably the worst day that that kind of thing could happen.”