10:30am Thursday 16th September 2010
By Scott McPherson
COMMUTERS faced major delays yesterday morning after a lorry crashed into a signpost and overturned on one of the town’s busiest roads.
The crash happened shortly before midnight, but the driver of the articulated lorry had both his legs trapped, which meant that the vehicle was not moved until 8.20am after he had been cut free and rushed to hospital.
The lorry was travelling south-bound on the A419 towards junction 15 of the M4, when the driver failed to negotiate a roundabout and crashed into a signpost before the vehicle overturned and crashed into the central reservation.
The incident caused massive tailbacks along the A419 and surrounding roads – with cars queueing as far back as the town centre.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We were alerted to the incident shortly after midnight but because of the injuries sustained by the driver we had to take time to stabilise the situation.
“He had both his legs trapped and needed to be cut free from the cabin of the lorry.
“When he was free he was rushed to the Great Western Hospital where it was discovered that his injuries were not as serious as first thought.
“Our Serious Collision Investigation Team were called to the scene around 6.20am and the lorry was in the process of being moved at 6.40am but the cable pulling it snapped.
“The lorry was removed from the road at 8.25am.”
Sharron Henley, 25, from Upper Stratton was stuck on the A419 for almost two-and-a-half-hours trying to get onto the motorway.
She said: “It was the worst traffic I have seen along that stretch of road.
“There always seems to be lorries getting into trouble on the road, but nothing on this scale. There were diversions in place but it was gridlocked so you could not move to go another way.
“A few cars did perform U-turns on the road but it looked so dangerous so I just thought I had better grin and bear it.”
A spokeswoman for the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said they were called out to the scene shortly before midnight and had to use a winch and hydraulic cutting equipment to free the driver.
She said: “The driver was physically trapped in the lorry and it looks like the cabin buckled around him.
“We sent crews from Stratton and Swindon as well as an Emergency Support Unit from Swindon.”
A spokesman for the Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) said: “A GWAS ambulance crew and a paramedic in a rapid-response vehicle were on scene within minutes and discovered the driver was mechanically trapped between the dashboard and steering wheel but he was coherent and conscious throughout his ordeal.
“Because the lorry was overhanging, dispatchers in GWAS’s emergency operations centre in Devizes called on the service’s newly-established Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).
“Crews from the team worked with Wiltshire Fire Service crews to assess and treat the patient during the difficult job of releasing him.
“The driver was freed from the cab shortly before 2.30am yesterday morning and taken by land ambulance to Great Western Hospital with a suspected broken shoulder and lower leg injuries which are not thought to be life-threatening.”
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