Drama of runaway van

IT WAS like a scene from the Stephen King movie Christine, the evil stalking car that took on a life of its own.Residents of a Woodbridge street could not believe their eyes when a runaway van, with no driver at the wheel, slowly began its descent downhill, careering towards a children's playground.

By Jessica Nicholls

IT WAS like a scene from the Stephen King movie Christine, the evil stalking car that took on a life of its own.

Residents of a Woodbridge street could not believe their eyes when a runaway van, with no driver at the wheel, slowly began its descent downhill, careering towards a children's playground.

Incredibly nobody was hurt as it rolled down the hill across a junction, up the pavement and down an embankment to come to its final destination, smashing into the metal railings of the playground.


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Thankfully no children were playing there at the time.

The drama happened on a day where four people escaped major injuries in three serious crashes in the county.

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After one of the accidents a was charged with drink-driving following a smash on the road between Great Wenham and Raydon.

In the case of the runaway van, luck played a huge part in ensuring tragedy was avoided.

It was just before midday yesterday when the blue transit van, owned by The Bakehouse shop in the town, silently started to move from its parking spot in Mill Lane, Woodbridge where driver Robin Howard had left it.

Thankfully no cars were coming along Castle Street, which runs along the bottom of Mill Lane, when the van reached the junction.

Castle Street is usually full of cars parked along the side of the road while people do their shopping or go to work.

But witnesses said that just one minute before the van began to roll, a car had moved from the spot directly opposite the junction, leaving a cars' length for it to get through before mounting the kerb and missing another parked car by inches.

Just as the van stopped when it smashed into the railings, witnesses once more stood gobsmacked as a new £30,000 Chrysler Voyager car pulled back into the vacant parking space - seconds after the van had rolled through it.

Shocked driver of the van, Robin Howard said he could not believe it when he got a call from work to say that his vehicle that he had parked safely had been in a crash.

He said: "I left it in gear with the wheels facing toward the kerb as a I usually do when I park there.

"Thankfully the steering lock was on so that it could only go straight and not round any corners."

Steve Pennington, driver of the Chrysler Voyager, is a chauffeur for Rickshaws, a new driving business and had no idea what had happened just minutes before he pulled into the parking space.

He said: "It is a company car and my boss has only just bought it.

"I had been delayed when I was in Felixstowe and was a few minutes late thankfully.

"Everyone came running out of the shop and just stared at me - I thought I had run someone's cat over."

Wai Kwok Cheung, owner of the Castle Kitchen chip shop, witnessed the incident.

He said: "It was very lucky there was no one coming along the road.

"One minute before there was a car parked there- when it moved the van went through- a minute later another car parked there.

"It must be a million to one chance of that happening, 99 per cent of the time there is a car parked there - it is unbelievable."

Andrew Currie was only alerted to the incident when he heard a loud bang.

He said: "It could have been very nasty, normally the parking is chock a block there.

"It was incredible, there was so much that could have gone wrong."

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