Topsham businessman 'lucky to be alive' after crash

THE OWNER of a Topsham shop said he was lucky to be alive after a horrific car accident in which one man was dragged away from a burning vehicle. Joel Segal, who runs Joel Segal Books, was involved in a two-car smash near the Bridge Inn at around 1.45am o

THE OWNER of a Topsham shop said he was lucky to be alive after a horrific car accident in which one man was dragged away from a burning vehicle.

Joel Segal, who runs Joel Segal Books, was involved in a two-car smash near the Bridge Inn at around 1.45am on Monday, October 12.

He was taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and told he had sustained two broken ribs.

Joel was travelling back to his Topsham home after attending a social event with two other passengers in his car.

Speaking to the Journal from hospital, he said: "I'm thanking my lucky stars my injuries weren't any worse. I had a very lucky escape. I can't remember much about it apart from a crash and bang."

The smash involved a red VW golf which caught fire and a green Honda Civic. Firefighters tackled the blaze and three people were treated by paramedics.

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One of Mr Segal's friends was taken to hospital with a broken pelvis. The other, a woman, suffered bruising.

Retained fireman Jerry Row, who lives a few yards away from the where the incident happened, was first on the scene.

Mr Row, 55, said: "There was a screech of tyres which woke me up followed by a heavy impact. I went outside to find a car on fire.

"Through the smoke I could then see there was another vehicle involved. As soon as I got there I made sure everyone was accounted for out of both vehicles and then called the fire brigade.

"The flames were quite bad - it was an intense fire. I lifted an injured man off the road whose legs were not working and carried him down the hill a wee bit to a safe area."

Caroline Cheffers-Heard, landlady of The Bridge Inn, was also woken up by the accident. She left her pub to help an injured lady.

She said: "I heard a bang and I went out to keep a lady company who was involved.

"By the time I got out, all the emergency services had already been called for. There were people looking after the others who were travelling in the cars - everyone was being cared for.

"It was remarkable that they all managed to get out and fortunately there were no life-threatening injuries.

"The lady I was with was very shaken but I looked after her until the ambulance staff took over. The damage caused to the cars was horrific."

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall police said a 17-year-old man was arrested and later charged after failing a breath test.

He has been granted bail to attend Exeter Magistrates Youth Court on October 28.