Halesworth: Witnesses describe fatal crash drama

The scene in Halesworth after a car hit a building. The scene in Halesworth after a car hit a building.

Thursday, February 20, 2014
7:00 PM

Police are piecing together the events that led to a fatal road collision in a Suffolk town centre.

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Halesworth was brought to a standstill when a car collided with a shop in Bridge Street at around 3.10pm today, killing a man thought to be in his 80s.

The blue Volvo crashed into the side of Valeries – formerly The Hawk Inn and now a women’s clothing store owned by Valerie Large, who was not in the shop at the time.

She said: “It’s just awful isn’t it? It’s somebody’s tragedy. It’s sad for the family.

“A friend rang me to ask if I was alright.

“It’s a listed building and the police lady said I can’t get anywhere near it until they have found out whether it’s structurally sound.

The shopowner said that the building was of historical significance to the town and also comprised three self contained flats.

Paramedics, police and firefighters were called to the scene of the crash. The road, which leads to the town’s main shopping street, The Thoroughfare, was closed in both directions for several hours while emergency services remained on scene.

One witness said: “People went over to help him but then a paramedic turned up and the next minute police were there too.

“They came quick smart. People were told to move away.

“Luckily it’s half-term and the library was shut. Usually there would be children hanging around outside. It could have been much worse.”

Although the library was closed, Djamila Ritchie was attending an exercise class at the time in the building, which is next door to the scene of the accident.

Mrs Ritchie said: “There was a big bang and we had a look outside.

“There were no other cars involved.”

Although initial reports had suggested the collision involved two vehicles, Mrs Ritchie said she believed only one car to be involved.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police were called at approximately 3.10pm this afternoon with a report of a collision where one vehicle has collided with a building on the junction of Bridge Street and The Thoroughfare.

“The single occupant of the car, a man, has sadly been pronounced deceased at the scene.

“Police, fire and the ambulance service are currently dealing with the incident and The Thoroughfare has been closed to traffic while the matter is ongoing.”

Police and fire crews left the scene of the crash at about 7.40pm. A police spokesman said road diversions are in place until engineers declare the building safe.

For updates on this story, click here.

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