A Rothbury woman miraculously escaped with minor injuries after a terrifying incident in which a runaway lorry hit her car.
Julia Grieveson was driving up the narrow Gravelly Bank on the western edge of the town on Monday afternoon when she saw the driverless lorry heading in her direction.
Her husband Barry said: “A digger was being loaded on to the back of the lorry two-thirds of the way up the bank when my wife came round the corner and realised it was coming towards her.
“She stopped the car but by the time she got it into reverse, the lorry was on her and it pushed her 20 yards, catapulting the car into the Catholic church grounds.
“The truck jack-knifed and was teetering over the car. How she survived without serious injury I don’t know. It’s beyond belief.
“If that truck had carried on down the bank, it would have come to a much busier area so it could actually have been much worse.”
Julia suffered a bruised arm, hip and has a sore neck, while it is understood a worker sustained a hand and wrist injury while trying to halt the vehicle.
“We had a visit from a representative of the company to see how she is but they have not admitted liability,” added Mr Grieveson, who said they wanted the Health and Safety Executive to investigate.
It is believed the articulated transporter was being used to transport a digger from a building site.
It is understood to have been taken away by the police for inspection.
Local resident Duncan Elson was on the scene of the collision within minutes.
Although he did not witness the incident he said: “Apparently, the digger was being driven onto the back of the truck and I think the added weight made it start rolling down the road without anyone in the cab.
“It travelled around 50-60m down the road and then the woman came up the road in her car and stopped.
“The driver was running alongside the truck trying to get on board to get control of the vehicle but he wasn’t able to.
“The wagon hit her car and jack-knifed and pushed her car down the bank into the
grounds of the church.
“My wife shouted to me that there had been an accident so we went to see what had happened.
“We saw the woman in her car. She was very fortunate to come away with only minor injuries.”
He added that police were at the scene within minutes.
Northumbria Police said inquiries into the incident are continuing and they have issued an appeal for witnesses to come forward with any information.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At 3.53pm on Monday police received a report of a two vehicle road traffic collision involving a car and lorry on Gravelly Bank in Rothbury.
“Emergency services attended the scene but nobody was believed to have suffered any life-threatening injuries.
“The road was blocked for around four hours to allow for recovery of the vehicles.”
The spokesperson added: “Inquiries into the circumstances around the collision are ongoing.
“Anyone who saw what happened is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 750 29/10/18.”
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 3.59pm.
Appliances were mobilised from Rothbury, Pegswood and Alnwick, and the last appliance, from Rothbury, left at 5.08pm.
The North East Ambulance Service also attended.
The incident has prompted Mr Grieveson to call on Northumberland County Council to install passing places on Gravelly Bank now rather than wait on the completion of the nearby development as had been planned.