Father and son inches from death

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A FATHER and son today described the terrifying moment a seven-tonne lorry crushed their car.

Ashley Bates, 22, was being driven to work by his father David at 9.30am yesterday when the truck’s trailer toppled over and landed on the bonnet of their Toyota Celica.

Shocked Mr Bates, from Blackpool, says he saw the Tuffnells delivery lorry rocking from side-to-side as it drove around the corner from Cornford Road onto Clifton Road in Marton.

Seconds later the rear section of the truck came loose and smashed on top of the Bates’ car.

He told The Gazette: “We feel lucky to be alive. It’s scary. It was so close to my dad’s side, I was worried for him.

“My dad was just pointing the lorry out when we saw it rocking, it was going from left to right and then fell – it nearly landed on top of us.

“We were slowing down, we were only going around 2mph when it happened. If we had been going one mile per hour faster, that would have been it – it would have probably squashed my dad.

“Luckily it landed on the bonnet. I’m still a bit shocked about what happened.”

His 67-year-old father, of Honeysuckle Place, Bispham, was taken to Blackpool Victoria suffering from back pains.

He added: “It was very traumatic, seeing it falling and heading towards me.

“If the trailer was another two feet closer, I wouldn’t be talking now.

“I thought it was going to fall on the roof and crush us both.

“I saw the back wheel hit the curb and that is when I hit the brakes, but there was nothing else I could’ve done.

“When it landed on us I managed to get out of the car, but I was shaking and had to sit down because it was so scary something like that coming at me.

“People were coming over to see if I was alright and as soon as the ambulance came I was strapped onto a spinal board because my back was sore.”

Witnesses watched the shocking crash unfold before police and ambulance workers arrived on the scene and Mr Bates senior was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Clifton Road was closed between Langdale Avenue and Cornford Road and traffic was diverted away from the crash scene while police carried out inquiries.

The driver of the lorry, who did not want to be named, told The Gazette he had no idea why the rear of his vehicle had toppled.

He added: “It’s just gone, I don’t know why.

“The lads in the car must have seen what was happening and they stopped in time.”

Passers-by described their shock at seeing the incident.

Gerard Gallagher, 40, from Mereside, said: “It’s lucky it didn’t land on top of the driver and passenger. It could have been a lot worse.

“It could have toppled over onto the street and onto a pedestrian or a cyclist.

“Anyone could have been crossing the road at that time.”

Steve Dalton, who lives on Clifton Road, said he heard a loud bang from the back of his house and rushed out to see what had happened.

The 56-year-old added: “It was quite a loud noise. We couldn’t believe it when we came out and saw what had happened. It’s lucky no-one was seriously hurt.”

Another witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s very lucky it only went on the bonnet.

“It looks like the box has come off the body of the lorry. It looks like the frame has sheared.”

Police said witness statements were taken at the scene and the accident would be investigated. The road reopened at 1.30pm.

A spokesman for Tuffnells added: “Our fleet engineer is carrying out a full investigation into this matter.

“Until we conclude our investigation, we cannot comment any further at this stage.”