Miracle escape for drivers in Matlock Green

WIDE LOAD: A lorry carrying building materials crashes into the station forecourt at Matlock Green.
WIDE LOAD: A lorry carrying building materials crashes into the station forecourt at Matlock Green.

This was the forecourt of the Matlock Green petrol station on the morning of October 7 1983.

A runaway lorry had careered down Lime Tree Road during the morning rush-hour and crashed into three vehicles.

RESCUE: All the drivers escaped unhurt when a lorry lost control and crashed into three cars and the forecourt of Matlock Green service station.

RESCUE: All the drivers escaped unhurt when a lorry lost control and crashed into three cars and the forecourt of Matlock Green service station.

It seems remarkable that any of the drivers could have walked away with their lives, but nobody was seriously hurt.

And fortunately, although a further three vehicles were also damaged, they were empty because they had been on display for sale.

But Matlock resident David Lowndes – who was driving the Ford Transit seen at the top of the pile-up and who kept these police pictures – sustained whiplash which put him out of work for eight months.

His van had broken down when the lorry hit it and pushed it across the main road into the station forecourt, crashing into a Mini and a Volvo.

WIDE LOAD: A lorry carrying building materials crashes into the service station at Matlock Green.

WIDE LOAD: A lorry carrying building materials crashes into the service station at Matlock Green.

“Thirty seconds sooner I was actually stood in front of my van with the bonnet up,” Mr Lowndes recalls.

“I had literally just got back in the van and I looked in the rear view mirror and there was this lorry. I could only see the letters ERF.”

Then aged 39, Mr Lowndes had already survived several accidents, having previously been caught between two lorries and having broken his neck unloading a truck.

He was so grateful after the hour-long rescue he remained in contact with the policeman who took charge.

Memory Lane: The page from the October 14 1983 edition of a seven vehicle pile up at Matlock Green.

Memory Lane: The page from the October 14 1983 edition of a seven vehicle pile up at Matlock Green.

“I look at it and think ‘how the hell did I get out of that one alive’,” he says.