Driver’s dash to save lives after lorry crash at Newton Poppleford

A SHOCKED driver braved treacherous conditions in a frantic race to save lives when a lorry crashed into a family home.

A SHOCKED driver braved treacherous conditions in a frantic race to save lives when a lorry crashed into a family home.

Otterton Mill owner Simon Spiller said he feared the worst when a Waitrose delivery vehicle jack-knifed on ice and careered into an 18th Century Newton Poppleford farmhouse as three generations of the Carter family slept inside.

Simon, first on the scene, praised quick-thinking teenager Lesley Carter and the calmness of the stricken lorry’s driver as they feared further disaster on Tuesday morning last week.

Simon and colleague Roy Hamilton dashed back up the hill to halt more vehicles heading towards them on a treacherous A3052.

“I had to rush and prevent further catastrophe,” Simon told the Journal.

“The lorry was across the road and the cab had disappeared inside the house. Expecting the worst, we got out of our car to see if we could help.

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“The driver explained another large lorry was a few minutes behind him. He was still in the cab and trying to radio that driver.

“He and Lesley then asked if we could try to stop that lorry from making the decent into Newton Poppleford. They feared another crash.

“The roads were extremely icy and, with a corner shortly before the farmhouse, the driver wouldn’t have seen the jack-knifed lorry in time to stop safely.

“Even in my four-wheel-drive Land Rover, I had slipped coming down that hill.

“Roy and I returned to the car and rushed up the hill to stop the next lorry.

“Luckily, we reached him, plus two others directly behind him, on the brow of the hill.”

Simon hailed the fact no-one was injured in the accident as a “miracle”. He had a special word for 15-year-old Lesley.

“I was impressed with the clarity and calmness of both Lesley and the lorry driver,” said Simon.

“Without question they were both in shock, but this was no barrier to them making a quick decision which, without any doubt, averted further disaster and potential loss of life.”

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