Chief Constable commends member of the public for quick thinking saving lives on the M25

Marie Gumpert with her commendation from Chief Constable Jason Hogg | Hillingdon Today
Marie Gumpert's quick actions on the M25 earned her a Chief Constable commendation, saving lives after a coach driver collapsed / Thames Valley Police

In a heart-stopping incident on the M25, a member of the public has been lauded for her quick actions that saved the lives of passengers aboard a coach after the driver collapsed.

Thames Valley Police’s Chief Constable, Jason Hogg, recently bestowed a commendation upon Marie Gumpert for her quick thinking to bring the vehicle to a safe stop and avoid hitting any other vehicles in 2022.

Marie, a student liaison officer, found herself thrust into a life-saving role when the driver of a Mercedes-Benz coach carrying 25 American exchange students to London suddenly suffered a medical episode on September 4, 2022, just before 9 a.m.

Displaying extraordinary composure, Marie swiftly took control of the situation, noticing the incapacitated driver and immediately assuming control of the vehicle’s steering wheel. Her decisive actions brought the coach to a safe stop, averting what could have been a catastrophic collision on the busy motorway.

Despite the harrowing circumstances, Marie’s actions ensured that the coach, careening across three lanes of traffic, avoided striking any other vehicles. The vehicle ultimately came to rest on the hard shoulder near junction 14 for the M4.

The driver sadly died at the scene, despite the efforts of paramedics.

However, Marie’s heroism ensured the survival of the passengers aboard, though six sustained minor injuries as the coach made contact with the central reservation. These injuries, predominantly caused by shattered windows, thankfully did not necessitate hospitalisation.

Upon receiving the commendation from Chief Constable Hogg, Marie expressed profound gratitude, saying: “Receiving the chief constable’s commendation is an overwhelming honour,” she said.

“This award will forever remind me of the collective strength displayed during such a critical moment as well as the impact we can have when we decide to take action in the face of danger.

“I am deeply humbled to receive this award, grateful for the support of the community, and inspired by the resilience of the passengers.

“I extend my profound gratitude not only for the recognition but even more so for the lives saved that day, made possible with the invaluable assistance of Thames Valley Police during and following the accident.”

Marie Gumpert’s bravery serves as a shining example of selflessness and quick thinking in the face of adversity, earning her the admiration and appreciation of the police.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Bettington, head of the Roads Policing Unit said: “There is no doubt that Marie’s quick thinking, actions and intervention, along with other passengers, directly contributed to the safe conclusion of this awful incident.

“If Marie had not done what she did, I have no doubt in my mind that there would have been multiple casualties or worse. Her actions were selfless and commendable.

“Policing and other emergency services cannot function well without the support of the public.

“I have no doubt Marie protected all those on board from serious harm.

“Thames Valley Police is incredibly grateful for what Marie did and I thank her for her support and for her public service.

“Our thoughts also remain with the driver’s family.”