Narrow escape for Town stars
IPSWICH Town stars have Paul Elmer to thank for a safe return home after dicing with death on the ice-bound M11.Quick-thinking team coach driver Mr Elmer had to avoid a car as it skidded out of control while attempting a risky overtaking manoeuvre.
By JON TUNNEY
IPSWICH Town stars have Paul Elmer to thank for a safe return home after dicing with death on the ice-bound M11.
Quick-thinking team coach driver Mr Elmer had to avoid a car as it skidded out of control while attempting a risky overtaking manoeuvre in front of the team coach.
And the experienced driver readily admitted the lives of all 30 passengers were in the balance as he controlled the coach on the icy road.
He said: "I had a split second to make a decision. It could have been 30 people dead. You have to play it as you see it."
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Mr Elmer described how motorists travelling north were restricted to one carriageway because of the dangerous icy conditions on the rest of the road.
But a car driving in front of the team coach pulled out and attempted to overtake, before losing control and spinning into the crash barrier.
The car then skidded back across the road directly in the path of the oncoming coach.
He said: "I had to take a risk that the weight of my coach would cut through the ice and allow me to keep control, otherwise I could have clipped the central reservation and rolled.
"I was sure I would be alright if I didn't brake or swerve too much. In the end, the car kept on going across the road and clipped the back of the bus.
"The players who saw it were absolutely gobsmacked, they couldn't believe I managed to avoid it – they thought it was fantastic."
Mr Elmer said he knew the couple could have died if the coach slammed into the side of the skidding car.
And the Hadleigh driver, who has more than 30 years experience behind the wheel, said he was not swayed by the precious cargo he was carrying.
He said: "It doesn't matter whether you're carrying children, adults or players, you do your job professionally to the best of your ability."
In the end, the coach ended up with nothing more than a slight scratch and the squad reached Bradford in just four-and-a-half hours on Friday despite the drama.
The Tractor Boys suffered an ignominious 2-0 defeat to the relegation-haunted Bantams.