Truck driver had just passed test


Published: Saturday 14th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The teenage driver of a tipper truck that careered out of control down a hill killing a child and three men had recently passed a test to drive heavy goods vehicles.

Phil Potter, 19, from Brinkworth in Wiltshire, was transporting sand and gravel on Monday afternoon when the truck hit pedestrians and vehicles in Bath, Somerset.

He had been licensed to drive it for months but passed a more advanced test to drive HGVs a few days before the tragic crash.

A Facebook post on February 4 showed him posing for a picture holding up a licence next to an articulated lorry.

His father Frederick posted on the website: “Very proud day of Phillip Potter passing his HGV artic test first time day after his nineteenth birthday well done – feeling happy.”

Four-year-old Mitzi Rosanna Steady, from Bath, suffered fatal injuries when she was hit by the truck as she walked down the lane with her grandmother.

Stephen Vaughan, 34, Robert Parker, 59, and Philip Allen, 52, were also killed in the incident in Lansdown Lane, Weston.

The a 32-tonne Scania truck hit Mitzi and her grandmother, and then struck other cars before overturning on to a Volvo at the bottom of the hill.

The three men inside the vehicle – taxi driver Mr Vaughan, electricity company director Mr Allen, from Swansea, and Mr Parker, from Cwmbran – were killed instantly.

Mr Vaughan, from Penyrheol, near Gorseinon, Swansea, got married in Turkey last summer.

In a statement released by Avon and Somerset Police, his widow Sian Vaughan said: “Steve was infectious; when he smiled, the whole room would smile.

“Myself, Steve’s parents and family are very proud of the man he was, a true gentleman and we were so privileged to have been a part of his life.

“We are devastated that he was taken away from us so soon.

“We had only been married six months and I was honoured that he chose me to be his wife. Steve was dedicated to his family and his business which made him a well-respected businessman.

“Even though we are going through our loss, our hearts go out to all the other families that have lost loved ones and we would like to thank the emergency services and the local community for everything that they have done for us at this sad time.”

Mitzi’s family previously released a photograph of the little girl and a short statement saying: “Mitzi Rosanna Steady, aged four, loved and missed by us all.”

Staff at Snapdragons Nursery in Weston, which Mitzi attended, said their “hearts go out” to the little girl’s family.

“We will always miss her smile and her warmth,” they said.

Father-of-two Mr Allen, who lived in Loughor, Swansea, with wife Caroline, was a resources and external affairs director for Cardiff-based Western Power Distribution.

Around 400 residents attended an hour-long prayer service for the victims at All Saints Church Weston, led by Rector Patrick Whitworth, on Tuesday.

Bereavement counselling is being offered to children at Weston All Saints Primary School, some of whom witnessed the collision.

Books of condolences have been opened in libraries at Bath and Weston, while tribute flowers have been left at a nearby church.

Witnesses have told police the truck driver appeared to be trying to avert an accident and repeatedly sounded his horn.

Avon and Somerset Police have spoken to the driver, who sustained minor injuries, in hospital and will interview him fully at a later stage.

Speaking earlier this week, Chief Inspector Norman Pascal said: “This is a tragic incident in which three men and a young girl have lost their lives and we’re carrying out a full and meticulous investigation.”

Local residents have described concern at lorries and cars driving up and down the steep hill at high speeds for years before the tragedy.

Mother-of-three Sarah Gleave, 39, described Lansdown Lane as a “rat run” in to the city of Bath and said she had moved from the top of the hill due to safety concerns.

“Measures have been put in place and it is supposed to be 20mph but even when it was a 30mph the number of cars that would go speeding up and down the hill,” Mrs Gleave said.

“I have seen crashes on the hill before, not anything like that obviously but it is a difficult situation. We are all in shock and coming to terms with what happened.”

The crash in Bath is reminiscent of a horrific accident in 1993 in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, when six people died after a tipper truck carrying 20 tonnes of gravel lost control on a steep hill and hit a van and then a shop.

Published: Saturday 14th February 2015 by The News Editor

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