Blackpool Police hunt driver who fled after dance studio smash

An out-of-control car left a trail of destruction after careering down a side street and ploughing into a dance studio.

Friday, 25th August 2017, 8:08 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:24 pm
Dance studio premises
Dance studio premises

The dark blue Mercedes Avant smashed into a white Peugeot van and blue Volkswagen Golf parked in Rawcliffe Street, South Shore, before spinning at speed into The Dance Place.

The studio building, which is used by hundreds of youngsters every week, was badly damaged – with co-owner Ian Wray left standing in shock as he witnessed the Merc’s driver flee the scene on foot.

The 77-year-old, who runs the school alongside his daughter Lian, said chunks of debris were sent flying through the air inside studio two, which could easily have been full of children.

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The wrecked vehicle

He said: “The saving grace is nobody was killed or has life-changing injuries.

“It could have been a lot worse. He must have been going at a hell of a rate.”

The crash happened at around 10pm on Wednesday, as Mr Wray and his partner Esther watched TV in their home above the studio, established in the resort since the early 80s.

“We just heard a bang and a screech of tyres,” he said.

A Mercedes careered down Rawcliffe Street in South Shore before ploughing into the front of The Dance Place. Bricks were sent flying through one of studios used by hundreds of youngsters every week.

“By the time we got to the window, we saw the Mercedes shoot across the road and into a wall.

“He [the driver] got out and hobbled off down the back street. The police are still looking for him.”

Lian, 37, rang her dad in a panic after seeing pictures of the car and building on Facebook, and arrived in the street to see a mass of emergency service workers.

Firefighters were called to clean up fuel that had leaked from the wrecked Mercedes, which was uninsured and understood to have been recently sold on, while council workers came out to check the building was safe.

The wrecked vehicle

And despite the twisted, mangled look of the studio’s entrance, no load-bearing walls were affected, with builders already working on an extension at the back now focusing on repairing the damage.

Mr Wray is now dealing with insurers to get the work done, and said he was optimistic the studio should still be reopen on Monday, September 4, after closing for August as normal.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police appealed for witnesses to come forward with any information.

The crash happened opposite the Last Resort pub, and the Mercedes was seen driving at speed by passers-by seconds before the crash, it is believed.

A Mercedes careered down Rawcliffe Street in South Shore before ploughing into the front of The Dance Place. Bricks were sent flying through one of studios used by hundreds of youngsters every week.

“The driver is reported to have got out of the car and made off,” he said. “We are now trying to trace the driver.”

Information can be given by calling 101, quoting log reference number 1502 of Wednesday, August 23.