THE long-awaited re-opening of a fire ravaged casino business was dramatically called off after its owner was badly injured in a frightening road accident.
Pierre Coulon, 60, owner of the Paris Casino on Bloomfield Road, was crossing the Promenade when he was struck by a bus.
He suffered a back injury, as well as bad cuts and bruises in the incident which happened outside Blackpool’s new seafront wedding chapel – Festival House – at 9.25pm on Friday.
Mr Coulon was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he has remained under close supervision from doctors as he struggles to regain his ability to walk unaided.
Mr Coulon’s wife Regina, 48, told The Gazette: “He was crossing the Prom on a zebra crossing and he thought the bus had stopped.
“It hadn’t and as he realised this it hit his shoulder.
“It was quite a shock for everyone and now he can’t walk properly.
“Pierre is very lucky – it could have been a lot worse.”
Mr Coulon was moved out of the Vic after four days and is now in a rehabilitation unit on Preston New Road.
The incident is yet more bad luck for Mr Coulon, who suffered the devastating loss of the first Paris Casino on Station Road, South Shore, when it burnt down in January 2009.
The opening night of the new Paris Casino was set to take place on Tuesday, however, the date has been postponed until further notice.
Mrs Coulon added: “The business has taken a back seat while he gets better and he is just realising how lucky he is because he could have been wiped out.
“He was by himself and somebody nearby called an ambulance for him, for which we are very grateful.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said an investigation was being carried out.
She said: “At 9.25pm on Friday night we had a call from the ambulance service to say a 60-year-old man had been hit by a bus.
“He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital because he complained of back pain.”
Bryan Lindop, Customer Services Coordinator of Blackpool Transport, said: “Regrettably, a collision occurred between a bus and a pedestrian on Friday.
“The pedestrian had walked away from his car, which had broken down and he was talking on his mobile phone as he was walking.
“The bus had just pulled away from a stop and was only moving slowly when, without warning the gentleman stepped unexpectedly into the road and collided with the bus.
“Several independent witnesses all stated that the gentleman had walked in front of the bus giving the driver no chance to react. The CCTV footage confirms the accuracy of these statements.
“This was an extremely unfortunate incident and highlights one of the dangers of a pedestrian using a mobile phone. We wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.”