2:13pm Thursday 23rd February 2012
By Bev Holder
A QUARRY Bank workman is “lucky to be alive” after a runaway waste truck hurtled towards him and crashed into the hole he was working in.
The drama unfolded in Quarry Bank High Street this morning (Thursday February 23) as engineers working for Wolverhampton based Morgan Sindall were carrying out gas main repair works in Quarry Bank High Street.
One minute workman David Walker (pictured) was in the middle of a routine morning job - working in a ten-metre deep hole in the road; the next he had to leap for his life when he saw a Biffa waste lorry rolling down the hill, smashing through barriers and heading straight for him.
His workmates and shop workers looked on in horror as the 30-year-old from County Durham managed to jump clear of the ditch with just seconds to spare - before the runaway vehicle came to rest in the spot that moments before he had been standing in.
A shocked but unscathed Mr Walker, who is due to get married in August, told the News he felt “lucky to be alive” after the incident which happened at around 11.30am.
He said: “I was in the hole and I saw this van coming towards me - I just managed to jump out when it was about a metre away.”
Zoe Cooksey, from Zoelle’s beauty, tanning and hair salon in the High Street, described the near miss as “quite terrifying”.
She added: “We could just hear a crashing sound and all the workmen shouting ‘move’ and ‘get out’. If he’d been stuck in there he would have been dead.”
Mr Walker's colleagues said the truck, which is thought to have rolled about 50 metres, came to rest just six inches away from the gas main.
Contracts manager David Whitfield said it was also fortunate that the hole in the road had stopped the lorry from travelling any further down Quarry Bank’s steep High Street.
His son Ashley Whitfield added: “If that hole hadn’t been there it would have rolled down the hill and someone would have been dead.”
A spokesman for Biffa said afterwards: “We are currently looking into the cause of the incident and would like to reassure the local community that health and safety is of utmost importance to us.”
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