A HEROIC heart attack victim averted disaster by pulling into the hard shoulder of the M56.
Thomas Konietzny, 48, of Little Stanney Lane, Stoak, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on the M56 westbound near Helsby at 1pm last Tuesday.
But he found time to guide his Volkswagon Touareg 4x4 from the fast lane to the hard shoulder, where he died shortly after.
He had no previous health concerns over his heart.
The German national had lived in Stoak for three years with partner Sonja Schmid. The pair had no children.
Mr Konietzny ran a dental laboratory and milling centre in Knowsley, as well as others in Germany and Dubai, making ceramics for dental work.
He ran a training centre and lectured extensively throughout the world.
Next-door neighbour Graeme Calvert said: “It was a complete shock.
“He felt unwell at work and said he was going to leave early.
“I actually saw it but never put two and two together. I was going to Widnes for a dental appointment.
“The police got there and they had a wagon blocking the inside lane. The whole motorway shut down and traffic was blocked all the way to Runcorn.
“By the time they got him out it was too late. It’s very sad.
“Somebody behind him saw the car swerving around before he pulled over.”
Cheshire police spokeswoman Shelley Williams said: "Fortunately the driver, despite experiencing significant medical problems, was able to navigate the car safely to the hard shoulder and avoided colliding with any other motorists.
“Medical assistance was summoned immediately, however, the driver sadly died of natural causes.“