LUCKY ESCAPE The scene at James Street in Westport on Monday after a bin lorry collided with parked cars and buildings on the street. Pic: Conor McKeown
Absence of serious injuries described as ‘miraculous’
A SENIOR garda has described as ‘miraculous’ the absence of any serious injuries after a runaway bin lorry ploughed into a number of parked cars before coming to a halt on a busy Westport street.
The incident took place at approximately 10.50am yesterday (Monday) when the bin lorry, which was collecting bins along James Street, started to roll down the hill on the right hand side of the street. The lorry travelled approximately 40 metres down the street before coming to a stop after hitting a building and colliding with a parked car. As the lorry was coming down the hill, it caused damage to three parked cars and crushed steel barriers and an electricity junction box.
A woman who was using the ATM machine on the street had a lucky escape when she had to run to avoid the runaway 20 tonne lorry. Inspector Denis Harrington told The Mayo News that a few people on the scene were treated for shock but body was seriously injured.
“The lorry crashed into a number of cars and into the building but fortunately nobody was seriously injured. A woman was at the ATM machine when it was coming down and just managed to get out of the way. It was just so fortunate that nobody was injured … someone could have been crushed under it. It was miraculous really,” he explained.
James Street is a double-lane one-way street and traffic flows from the direction of the Octagon onto the Newport Road. The local fire brigade and the ambulance service were quickly on the scene and part of the street was closed by gardaí to allow them to carry out investigations.
It is understood that the driver was not in the lorry at the time of the incident but Insp Harrington stated on Monday afternoon that gardaí had yet to establish the full facts.
“The incident itself is still under investigation and we are trying to establish the sequence of events that led to this occurring. It was an unusual event and it is fortunate nobody was seriously injured,” he said.
In December 2014, six people in Glasgow were killed following a similar incident when a bin lorry lost control and collided with pedestrians.
Meanwhile, Gardaí in Westport are in the process of moving into their newly renovated garda building following refurbishment. The redevelopment of Westport Garda Station started last January but work was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions and since then the gardaí have been using portacabins when dealing with the public.
The renovations has resulted in a new public office which will now be wheelchair accessible and user friendly for the public and the gardaí. Local councillor Christy Hyland welcomed the renovation of the station after he described the old station as not being fit for purpose.
“I mentioned at a Joint Policing Committee three years ago that the old station was not fit for purpose for the gardaí or the public who were coming in to report serious incidents. It is great to see the new facilities which will be better now for the people and the staff.”