Major disaster narrowly averted on A14

A MAJOR explosion on one of the region's busiest roads was averted yesterday when a lorry driver swerved to miss a broken-down petrol tanker.

Will Clarke

A MAJOR explosion on one of the region's busiest roads was averted yesterday when a lorry driver swerved to miss a broken-down petrol tanker.

However, he was unable to keep control of his HGV laden with bricks and the truck overturned sending tonnes of rubble spilling across two lanes of the A14 - blocking one of the main routes into Suffolk for much of the day.

The drama began when one of the Tesco fuel tanker's tyres exploded, forcing the driver to make an emergency stop shortly before 7am near Newmarket.

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Coming up immediately behind the tanker, the driver of a lorry full of house bricks was forced to take severe evasive action - flipping his load all over the eastbound carriageway as he swerved violently to avoid the lethal hazard.

Investigators said the driver of the brick lorry was lucky to avoid the full tanker which, apart from a shredded tyre, only sustained an inch long nick where the massive 40-tonne truck made slight contact.

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Witnesses said bricks and brick dust were strewn across the eastbound carriageway, with part of the load spilling over into the westbound section of the road.

Pc Joe Skippen said full contact would have had very serious implications for anyone nearby: “It was almost a disaster. He (the brick lorry driver) narrowly avoided the tanker - only clipping it just above one of the rear lights. He was very lucky.

“It was a major incident - the entire eastbound carriageway was partially blocked and one lane of the westbound was affected too. We cleared the westbound lane and one lane of eastbound quickly and the rest of the road was back to normal by 1.30pm.

“If the lorries had collided we would have been looking at a major disaster. The brick lorry was fully laden and there would have been an explosion.

“That could have involved many other vehicles and a neighbouring house. We were there till 1.30pm just clearing up bricks but it could have been a lot worse.”

The incident, between the A14 junction with the A11 and the junction with the A142 at Exning, caused massive rush hour tailbacks even though diversions were quickly put in place.

The driver of the tanker was shaken but unharmed and the driver of the lorry was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge to be treated for a bruised shoulder and concussion.

Claire Rowley, 41, whose home is opposite the accident site, said: “I heard this noise, I rushed outside and saw the aftermath. It was pretty scary because it was right outside my garden.”

Elsewhere in the county, police were sent to East Street in Sudbury after a woman pedestrian was in collision with a motorbike at about 10am. Officers from Suffolk police closed the road while emergency services dealt with the incident. The woman suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, for treatment.

Then, at 1.38pm in Queens Lane, Chedburgh, firefighters were called out to a two car accident in which the roof of one vehicle had to be cut away for an injured person to be freed. Two people involved in the crash were taken to the Bury hospital.

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