Lorry driver killed after crashing into a Royal British Legion club building

December 27, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

This is the moment a 40ft lorry CRASHED into the side of a Royal British Legion club building – tragically killing the driver on Boxing Day.

The unnamed driver was delivering milk when he crashed into the busy club at around 8pm.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, although the 15 people inside miraculously walked away unharmed and were evacuated from the building.

The lorry sits on the pavement after it is recovered from the crash scene

The lorry sits on the pavement after it is recovered from the crash scene

Police quickly sealed off the area in Wednesbury, West Mids., while the vehicle was recovered.

Eye witnesses described the moment they thought a BOMB had gone off when a truck ploughed into the club.

At first, people inside believed there was a gas explosion, until they saw the truck inside their beloved club on Boxing Day.

Bar manager Terry Fitzgerald, 65, was working when he heard a loud bang, his wife and daughter were also in the bar.

It is believed around 25 men, women and children were in the club in Wednesbury, West Mids., when the truck hit.

He said: “Everyone who was inside is so lucky to be alive, it is a miracle no one in there was hurt.

“I heard a bang and thought it was a bomb or a gas explosion, then I heard hissing.

“I later found out the hissing was the air brakes from the truck and we didn’t notice what had happened until we all ran outside to see the truck sticking out.

“This is a devastating thing to happen, especially because someone has lost their life.

“No-one seems to know the man, there was just so much smoke and I am still in shock.

“I am just relieved my family are okay, it is tragic that a man has died but it could have led to 30 people dying.”

Club secretary Linda Holl, 64, said: “I wasn’t there at the time of the crash, although as soon as I got the call I went straight to the club.

“The children in there were terrified, everyone went there to celebrate Boxing Day and
have a drink together.

“The damage is catastrophic. I have no idea when we will be back up and running.

“The lorry hit the right hand side of the club, there was aa family standing on the left, if they would have been on the other side they’d be dead.

“There is a dual carriageway outside and the speed limit is around 30 to 40mph, although no one has any idea how he crashed.

Chairman of the Royal British Legion club Leigh Jones, 39, said he was “gutted” at what had happened and was on his way to the club at the time.

He said: “We always spend Boxing Day there as a family.

“We’re usually in there at that time though we just happened to be running a bit late for one reason or another.

“People who were inside at the time said they just saw a puff of smoke and they thought there had been a gas explosion or something.

“I’ve been coming to this club nearly all my life, it’s just gutting to see what has happened.”

Mr Jones said the club has around 300 members and the annual Poppy Appeal is run from the building.

It is believed the club opened in the 1930s and recently, new windows and a new boiler system had been installed.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews we called to reports of a lorry that had been in a significant collision with a building.

“On arrival at the scene crews found that the lorry had collided into the Royal British Legion with approximately a third of the lorry’s length within the building.

“Ambulance crews worked alongside the fire service, whilst they secured the building, to ensure that everyone that had been in the property at the time of the incident were accounted for and were uninjured.

“On assessment of the lorry driver it unfortunately became apparent that nothing could be done to save him and he was sadly confirmed deceased at the scene.”

A West Midlands Police spokesman said the driver was the “sole occupant” of the lorry.

The spokesman added: “The British Legion was open at the time and customers were evacuated as a precaution, however no injuries have been reported.

Officers are keen to speak to any witnesses and urge them to call the regional collision investigation unit by dialling 101.”

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