Town chiefs close to crash disaster

THIS dramatic picture shows how close Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton, chairman David Sheepshanks and two other club officials came to serious injury after they were involved in a pile-up on the A12.

Craig Robinson

THIS dramatic picture shows how close Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton, chairman David Sheepshanks and two other club officials came to serious injury after they were involved in a pile-up on the A12.

One car burst into flames in the crash, and Mr Sheepshanks said it was only the size of their 4x4 vehicle - written off in the impact - which saved them from a more serious outcome.

The pair, along with club advisor Charlie Woods and player liaison officer Wolfe Powell, were treated at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, for minor injuries after the crash on Thursday night.

Mr Sheepshanks told yesterday how the dramatic incident unfolded, praising emergency services and recalling the “heroic” actions of a man who plucked a driver from the burning car.

They had been in a Toyota Land Cruiser caught in a traffic jam on the Ipswich-bound carriageway near Brentwood. As they slowed to walking pace, another car was in collision with them before bursting into flames.

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Mr Sheepshanks said: “I can remember being shoved against the pillar by the windscreen and we've all got bumps, bruises and some whiplash.

“The car we were driving is a 4x4 and is a write-off, and that shows you the impact. We were lucky we were in a big car like that or things could have been much worse.

“The car that was in collision with us burst into flames and the real hero of the day was a young guy driving a van who pulled the driver out of the car. He possibly saved the driver's life.”

He added: “It was a miraculous escape really for all but we are all okay and now the focus is on Norwich and Sunday.”

The Blues chairman also praised the response of emergency services as “fantastic”.

Police are appealing for information about the accident, which happened at about 8.10pm between the Brentwood and Mountnessing junctions and also involved a Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Astra.

A spokeswoman said a 41-year-old man from Clacton-on-Sea who was in the Fiesta had injuries to his legs and chest along with a 39-year-old woman who had a head injury and whiplash.

A 34-year-old man in the Astra, from the Chelmsford area, was uninjured, she added.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “There were six patients in all but none were serious - just the usual bumps and bruises.

“Three men were boarded up as a precaution because they were suffering back pain and three others were walking wounded.”

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call Essex Police on 01279 621866.

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