Mum-of-six hails driver who rescued her family from smoking car

Natasha and her children are lucky their Hyundai i800 didn't explode Picture: Sonya Duncan

Natasha and her children are lucky their Hyundai i800 didn't explode Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A mum-of-six has praised the motorist who came to her family’s rescue when her car began smoking – leaving her in fear of it exploding.

Natasha Martin wants to thank Ricki Tarpley who helped her when her car was smoking at the road side Picture: Sonya Duncan

Natasha Martin wants to thank Ricki Tarpley who helped her when her car was smoking at the road side Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Natasha Martin, 39, had just dropped two of her children off at school on November 18 and was driving along Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, towards the roundabout when smoke started pouring out of her Hyundai i800 people carrier.

She was in the vehicle with her twin baby boys, her two-year-old daughter and her six-year-old son who is disabled.

Ms Martin, who lives in Stanningfield, near Bury, said: “I thought it was going to blow up or set on fire.

“As soon as I saw the smoke I thought ‘I need to get the kids out’.

Ricki Tarpley, from Bury St Edmunds, who came to the aid of mum Natasha Martin and her children when her car started to...

Ricki Tarpley, from Bury St Edmunds, who came to the aid of mum Natasha Martin and her children when her car started to smoke and was at risk of an explosion. Picture: Contributed by family - Credit: Contributed by family


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“I thought ‘if the car is going to go, it’s going to go’.”

Ms Martin had managed to get one of her babies, aged one, out of the car and was attempting to get her other baby out when the door handle came off.

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Several people drove past but then Ricki Tarpley, a father-of-two from the town, pulled over to assist.

Mr Tarpley, 46, who happens to know Ms Martin’s partner Brett Callaby, said he had seen a “massive black cloud of smoke”.

Ricki Tarpley, from Bury St Edmunds, who came to the aid of mum Natasha Martin and her children when her car started to...

Ricki Tarpley, from Bury St Edmunds, who came to the aid of mum Natasha Martin and her children when her car started to smoke and was at risk of an explosion. Pictured here with his sons Harry Tarpley (left) and George Tarpley. Picture: Debbie Sharples - Credit: Debbie Sharples

He said: “There was a loud bang and lots of smoke. When you see something like a vehicle with lots of smoke coming out of it you don’t know whether it’s going to engulf in flames.

“You have obviously got a split second to think and because I could see everybody panicking and she was screaming ‘my kids are in the car’ I thought ‘I have to get them out’.”

Ms Martin said: “Ricki started hollering for other people to come over and help. At that point he realised I had more children in the car and would need more help than just me and him. We obviously didn’t have enough pairs of hands.”

Other people did respond, helping with the children and to move the car.

Natasha Martin wants to thank Ricki Tarpley who helped her when her car broke down. After smoke started coming from the...

Natasha Martin wants to thank Ricki Tarpley who helped her when her car broke down. After smoke started coming from the engine she struggled to get her 4 young children to safety but Mr Tarpley stepped in to help. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ms Martin said the AA had told her the turbo could have exploded and they were “lucky” it didn’t blow the engine.

Ms Martin said she had sent Mr Tarpley a personal message thanking him for his help, but added: “I would like to just reiterate how much I thank him for being the only one to have the decency to stop and help, and then collar other people to come and help.

“It’s appreciated, especially in the current climate and the circumstances we are all under.

“Maybe that’s the reason people were reluctant to help, I don’t know.”

Mr Tarpley, a van driver for a local car parts company, said: “I think hopefully it was something most people would do.”

Mr Callaby added: “He done a grand job.”

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