Driver's miracle escape from crash

THIS van driver feels like the luckiest man alive today after he miraculously walked away from an A14 horror smash with just scratches.

THIS van driver feels like the luckiest man alive today after he miraculously walked away from an A14 horror smash with just scratches.

Ian Chittick was driving along the westbound carriageway near Sproughton at about 5.40am on Wednesday morning on his way to a course in Norwich.

The last thing he can remember is sneezing before his Renault van collided with a lorry parked in a lay-by, spun around and crashed into the central reservation.

The passenger side of the van was completely obliterated, reducing it to just a mangled piece of metal.

Amazingly the 27-year-old engineer managed to undo his seatbelt, climb from the wreckage of his vehicle and walk across the A14 towards the lorry driver - although he can't actually remember doing so.

His next memory is standing in the lay-by with the lorry driver before getting into his cab to wait for the emergency services to arrive.

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Mr Chittick, of Victoria Chase, Colchester, said: “I had had a good night's sleep so I wasn't tired and I wasn't speeding, either. I remember going to sneeze but don't remember finishing it and the next thing I recall is standing in the inside lane.

“I think I had someone looking down on me from above. It was definitely my lucky day. I'm not really a believer in luck but I will be now.”

Mr Chittick, who installs solar panels, is heading back to work today - less than a week after the smash, which closed the road for two hours during the rush-hour period.

When the emergency services arrived, he was helped on to a stretcher and was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

Fortunately he remembered the phone number of his best friend, Graham Kemp, who drove from Essex to Ipswich to be by his bedside.

Following checks and x-ray scans, he was discharged by 9.45am. His only medication was cream for the scratches on his face.

It was only when he went to see the van later that day at the recovery garage that the enormity of what could have happened hit home.

He said: “When I was in the lorry cab after the accident, I was in a bit of a daze and looked at the van but could only see the driver's side, which wasn't really damaged. But when I saw it later, I couldn't believe it.

“My boss, and his daughter, Catherine, who is my ex-girlfriend, went to see the van and when she saw it, she burst into tears and hugged me.

“I do believe that if I had had any passengers, they would have died. The ceiling was all crushed but the driver's side wasn't touched - I don't know how on earth that is possible.”