Dad’s shock after pallet smashed his windscreen near Albourne as he drove his daughter to school
A father and daughter had a lucky escape near Albourne when a wooden pallet fell off the back of a truck and smashed into the front of their car.
Simeon Adams, 51, said he and Daisy, 12, were left shaken but unhurt by the incident, which happened on Muddleswood Road as Simeon was driving his daughter to school in his Land Rover Discovery.
Police confirmed they were called at around 8am on Wednesday 6 October, after a report of a wooden pallet falling from the back of a lorry travelling on the B2117 at Hassocks.
“The pallet collided with the front of another vehicle travelling in the same direction, causing damage to the windscreen,” a spokesman said. “No injuries were reported.
“Anyone who saw what happened or captured the incident on dash cam is asked to email [email protected] quoting serial 202 of 06/10.”
Simeon, of Radinden Manor Road, Hove, said he had just driven past Singing Hills Golf Course when he saw a blue flat bed truck coming round a slight bend.
“It was quite an undulating road so it was quite bouncy,” said Simeon.
The truck then ‘bounced up’ and the load on the back ‘just lifted up in the air’, he said.
“It was just one of those ‘life flashing before your eyes’ moments,” said Simeon.
“We saw all this timber, and it was like a large wooden pallet, lift off the trailer and fly in the air,” he said.
Simeon realised immediately that the item was heading for his car.
“Suddenly it just disappeared out of view, above the windscreen, and then there was the most almighty bang as it landed on the car,” he said.
Simeon described the impact as ‘an explosion of wood’ that wrecked the windscreen and caused it to buckle inwards.
“It was a big square of wood and it landed right, smack in the middle of the windscreen,” he said.
Simeon said the truck did not stop, but he slowed down and pulled over after the impact.
He said his daughter was ‘shaken up’ by the incident and that he had ‘delayed shock’, saying he was not sure what to do in the immediate aftermath.
He called his wife Jayne who contacted a friend doing the same school run.
She was only moments away and pulled over to advise Simeon to call the police.
“I called 101 first because I thought ‘no one’s hurt, it’s not an immediate emergency’,” said Simeon.
“But they put me through to 999, the emergency responders and they were there within about ten minutes.”
Simeon said that there was timber all over the road 100 yards behind him and that there were ‘timber skid marks’ where it had crashed down into the road.
“I think someone might have stopped and cleared timber out of the road, because it was all at the side of the road,” he said.
He also said another parent pulled over to check whether the pair were alright and took Daisy to school in her car with her own daughter.
Simeon said the Good Samaritan stopped and waved on her return to let him know Daisy had been dropped off safely.
The police arrived and closed off the road for a moment so Simeon could turn around and get the car to safety at the nearby golf club.
He said they then took a statement and escorted him to a friend’s house in Small Dole where the vehicle could be recovered.
Simeon said the damage was not just to his windscreen and that his wing mirror had been shattered while his bonnet had been dented.
He said the most frightening thing though was that the windscreen had buckled inwards.
“If the windscreen had given way, or if part of the pallet hadn’t had its velocity reduced by the bonnet and the pillar of the windscreen, then we would have probably both have been goners,” he said.
Simeon also said he was glad he had been driving a big and sturdy car, which probably protected them as well.
Simeon said the incident is going to cost him £600 excess on his insurance, as well as a likely rise in his premiums.
“It would have been nice to have someone’s insurance to claim against,” he said.