A LANDSCAPE gardener has won the praise of a coroner and the police for his heroism in pulling a driver from a burning car on a country road.

The Seat Ibiza exploded into a fireball moments after Callum Read dragged Petru Leizeriuc out of it, an inquest heard.

Mr Read said he was driving homewards when he saw the car skewed across the road with Mr Leizeriuc slumped at the wheel, half in and half out of the vehicle.

His legs were trapped by the collapsed steering wheel.

“I thought ‘I have to get this man out of this car’,” he said. “I ran over.

"I could hear the sound of fire crackling and burning."

Mr Read said he managed to get the legs free and dragged Mr Leizeriuc eight to ten metres away from the car.

He gave him first aid and held his hand until the emergency services arrived.

He said: “The heat, at eight to ten metres, was almost intolerable because it was an inferno."

The inquest, held in Northallerton, heard that despite his efforts and those of others who stopped to help and paramedics, Mr Leizeriuc died at the scene from severe internal injuries.

The 49-year-old’s car had crashed into a tree on a bend and ricocheted back onto the road.

Assistant coroner John Broadbridge told Mr Read: “Your timely action was a major step to try to help save his life. For that you should be thanked.”

He and Traffic Constable Steven Gardner, who investigated the crash for North Yorkshire Police, both praised Mr Read for his actions.

The coroner recorded a finding that Mr Leizeriuc, a Romanian national living in Snape near Bedale, died in a road traffic collision.

Horse rider Justine McGraw, said she was on a parallel track to the Thorpe Perrow to Snape road when she heard a car driving too fast along it on October 7, 2019 shortly after 6pm.

“Then I heard a huge sharp bang, and a pause and then another huge sharp bang and then silence," she said.

"My heart sank. I hoped it wasn’t that vehicle."

She saw smoke rising above the road, heard a voice shout that an ambulance was needed and called 999.

She said: “I saw a fireball and I asked for the fire crew as well.”

The inquest heard Mr Leizeriuc came to the UK in July as a welder.

He was not allowed to drive his company’s car because he didn’t have a licence.

On October 7, 2019, without telling anyone why, he took the car to Bedale after work.

TC Gardner said CCTV showed him leaving Bedale at 6.10pm and another driver saw him driving on the wrong side of the road as he headed back towards Snape.

A post mortem showed he was one and a half times the drink drive limit.

TC Gardner said Mr Leizeriuc’s lack of driving experience, lack of experience of UK roads and drinking had contributed to the accident.