Miracle escape

PUBLISHED: 12:19 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:08 23 August 2010

EYEWITNESS:  Alex Bourne.

EYEWITNESS: Alex Bourne.

HE is lucky to be alive; you would have expected the outcome to be horrific. Never in a million years could the driver have avoided him, the bike just shot out of the junction and slammed in to the front of the lorry. It s a miracle he was not killed

HE is lucky to be alive; you would have expected the outcome to be horrific.

"Never in a million years could the driver have avoided him, the bike just shot out of the junction and slammed in to the front of the lorry.

"It's a miracle he was not killed."

An eyewitness relives the horrifying moment a teenager scooter rider called 'Jeral' smashed in to a 15 tonne lorry on a notorious road.

The youngster from Vigo was airlifted to hospital after the accident on the cross road of Wrotham Road and Chapmans Hill, Culverstone at about 3pm last Wednesday.

It comes a week after Kent Highways bosses said they were not going to reclassify the road after two fatal smashes, and several lucky escapes. On Sunday the teenager underwent an operation on a broken thema and fractured arm at Darent Valley hospital. Alex Bourne, 19, of The Gables, Meopham, said: "There was nothing the driver could possibly have done to avoid hitting him.

"I was following the lorry and I saw one shoot out and I thought 'he's cutting that a bit fine' and then out of nowhere another one shot out and smash. Plastic just exploded off the bike and flew in the air and the boy was thrown in the road, I don't know how he didn't die.

"The lorry driver was not even doing 30 when he approached the mouth of the junction he could do nothing to miss the boy but he is clearly in shock."

Mr Bourne, an architecture student, directed drivers around the crash wreckage and comforted the victim and distraught driver as emergency services raced to the scene.

The front of the Paggio NRG was destroyed and debris littered the road verge as neighbours who heard the smash rushed from their houses.

He added: "The boy was clearly seriously hurt but it is a miracle he was not killed."

The driver of the 15 tonne DAH Grab Hire vehicle walked around dazed with shock as friends, many on scooters, arrived after hearing about the accident.

"I could do nothing, he just came out of nowhere. I am still in shock," said the driver from Cliffe, who did not want to be named.

"This is 15 tonne when not loaded, I am just glad I was not carrying a load as it could have taken me a lot more to stop and it would have gone straight through him."

Resident Mike Taylor, who lives at Open View on the crossroads, heard the crash and rushed from his house.

He was friends with Tom Hole, the 96-year-old killed on the same road as he walked between parked vehicles to collect his morning paper last month.

"When will they learn? This is a terrible accident, nothing to do with speed, but these youngsters on bikes need to take more care," he said.

A year earlier Paul Philpot, 46, of Hurst Road, Erith, was killed on the same road. He was hit by a car as he pulled out of the George Inn.

Last week Kent Highways said: "Reclassification to a B road would not in itself make the route safer.

"The range of road safety improvements have already been introduced on the A227 including safety camera sites and interactive speed limit signs."

Gravesham leader Mike Snelling, who is chairman of the Gravesham Joint Transportation Board, said Kent Highway's decision not to downgrade the A227 Wrotham Road to a B-road was "outrageous".

It followed a review using a new system called PIPKIN that assessed a small part of the route through Tonbridge.

He said: "Assessing the notorious A227 in this way is ridiculous - it doesn't give a true reflection of the hidden dangers on the road.

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