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Harvey hero cop Constable Reece Josemans who saved couple from burning car up for WA Police Excellence Award

Sean Van Der Wielen & Shannon HamptonHarvey-Waroona Reporter
South West hero cop Constable Reece Josemans.
Camera IconSouth West hero cop Constable Reece Josemans. Credit: WA Police/WA Police
VideoVideo reveals dramatic police rescue after horror Harvey crash

A South West hero cop who helped save an elderly couple trapped in their car minutes before it burst into flames on a major highway in Harvey has been nominated for a prestigious award recognising his bravery.

Harvey’s Constable Reece Josemans is up for a nod at Thursday’s WA Police Excellence Awards for his “exceptional bravery” and demonstrating an “outstanding commitment to serving the public” during the March 12 horror crash.

The incident left an elderly man in his 80s with serious facial burns in March. His female passenger, also in her 80s, remarkably walked away with only minor injuries.
Camera IconThe incident left an elderly man in his 80s with serious facial burns in March. His female passenger, also in her 80s, remarkably walked away with only minor injuries. Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

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The incident near the intersection of James Stirling Place on South Western Highway in Harvey left an elderly man in his 80s with serious facial burns in March. His female passenger, also in her 80s, remarkably walked away with only minor injuries.

In April, Const. Josemans, who had been stationed with Harvey police for only four months before the incident, recalled the moment he and Senior Constable Kylie Jones came across the crash.

“It wasn’t until I got out of the vehicle and heard a lady yelling ‘help, help there’s two people trapped inside’, that’s when I went running over and went straight into action,” he said.

The incredible footage shows the pair being pulled from the flames.
Camera IconThe incredible footage shows the pair being pulled from the flames. Credit: WA Police/WA Police

“I remember just making eye contact with the two occupants.

“At that point in time, I didn’t know how they were going to come out but I knew I had to find a way.

“I remember the feeling of the fire, it was the most unbearable (feeling) . . . you know you’ve got to get them out.”

Former Yarloop police officer-in-charge Sgt Wayne Byram said earlier this year he was “incredibly proud” of the brave officers on the scene, and said if not for their actions, police would have been faced with a double fatality.

Just 90 seconds after pulling the pair to safety, and everyone at the scene got back from the vehicle, the fuel tank of the vehicle exploded, causing the ground to shake around them.

The vehicle had 125L of fuel onboard, as well as two gas bottles on the caravan.

The wreckage was strewn along the road.
Camera IconThe wreckage was strewn along the road. Credit: WA Police/WA Police

“What goes through your head is that the car exploded after, so it makes you think, we only had a minute left to go,” Const. Josemans said.

“(The female occupant) said to me: “You saved my life.”

“That to me, is everything. Job done. The best feeling in the word,” he said.

Nominations for the awards are received both within the force and from community members, with individuals judged on excellence in a policing role, the WA Police Force’s core values and the extent to which nominations raise the public’s confidence in policing.

‘You saved my life,’ the female occupant of the car told Constable Reece Josemans.
Camera Icon‘You saved my life,’ the female occupant of the car told Constable Reece Josemans. Credit: WA Police/WA Police

Const. Josemans made it into the top three against 57 individual officers who were nominated for this year’s awards.

He will go up against Proceeds of Crime Squad member Sergeant James McLaren and Belmont Police Station Sergeant Trisha Stjepic for this year’s individual accolade.

Winners of the award will receive $5000, while the two runners-up will receive $1000.

The winners will be announced at Optus Stadium on December 8.

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