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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Twelve walk away from Carlisle city centre minibus crash

A driver and his 11 passengers had a miraculous escape when their minibus ploughed through a garden wall on a busy Carlisle road.

The smash happened at 7.15pm on Saturday in Victoria Place, with the white 16-seater LDV minibus demolishing a brick wall and metal fence before stopping in a front garden.

An elderly woman on the bus was taken to The Cumberland Infirmary with a minor head injury.

Neither the driver nor any of his passengers, who included small children, suffered any serious injuries.

The crash was one of two serious accidents in Carlisle to happen within the space of half an hour.

The second happened at 7.35pm when a car went out of control on Kingstown Road, careering into two houses.

Just an hour before the Victoria Place accident, Charles Broadbent, 77, was working in his front garden near to the wall that was destroyed. He and his wife Denise, 55, told how they had been in their home watching TV when they heard a loud rumble.

“We looked out of the front window and saw the white van in our front garden,” said Denise.

“The first thing we did was rush out to see if the people in the minibus were OK. There were three generations inside, including some small children, perhaps as young as two, and an older woman, who had a small cut to her head.

“If they hadn’t been wearing seat belts it would have been a right mess.”

The couple continued to help the group as they waited for police and ambulance staff to arrive.

They said they were grateful that there was a substantial brick wall between their garden and the driveway for the bungalow next door.

That wall stopped the minibus hitting the bungalow.

As the minibus went through the couple’s front garden wall, the impact sent dome bricks tumbling into next door’s driveway.

A heavy sandstone coping stone landed next to the front bay window of the bungalow, which is the home of 85-year-old Bettine Bradbury.

She said: “My neighbour found the coping stone next to my window. There was obviously a risk to me.

“If a car had been parked on the drive, it would have been damaged by the bricks spilling over the wall.”

In the second accident, just 20 minutes later, police and paramedics were called to Kingstown Road after a Citroen left the road near the junction with California Road.

The car destroyed three roadside bollards and bounced off two terraced houses as it span out of control.

Chris Boak, 29, who lives near the scene, said: “I was in the house when I heard a crashing noise. I came out and saw the Citroen facing into Kingstown Road.”

Mr Boak, who owns CBS Valeting, said the car involved came to rest just inches from his parked car.

Simone Sisson, 21, lives in a house just 30 yards from the crash site with her seven-and-a-half-month-old son Jack.

She said her friend, Mel Forster, 25, had just left her house a few doors down and was about to walk to her house when the crash happened.

Had she set off a few seconds earlier, she said, her friend would have been walking along the pavement where the car left the road.

“Everybody was quite shaken by it,” said Simone.

Police confirmed that the driver of the Citroen, a 32-year-old man from Ecclefechan, in Dumfries and Galloway, was interviewed. A file has been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will decide whether there should be a prosecution.

A man has been charged following the Victoria Place crash. Suk Punmagar, 55, of Delagoa Street, near London Road, is charged with drink-driving. He is due to appear before magistrates on March 6.

PColeman@cngroup.co.uk

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