EXCLUSIVE: Police crash driver thanks rescuers

10:07 04 April 2012

Bruce Clarke, pictured with his Glasgow Rangers shirt, said it was a "miracle" he survived the smash at the Stickepath Stones roundabout.

Bruce Clarke, pictured with his Glasgow Rangers shirt, said it was a "miracle" he survived the smash at the Stickepath Stones roundabout.

Archant

Bruce describes terrifying smash at Sticklepath ‘Stones’ roundabout.

"I just shut my eyes, held onto the steering wheel and said my prayers. I thought I was dead."

Bruce Clarke

A DRIVER injured in a collision with a police car has praised rescuers for helping free him from the wreckage.

In an exclusive interview with the Gazette, Bruce Clarke, 59, said it was a ‘miracle’ he survived the smash at the Sticklepath Stones roundabout in Barnstaple.

Mr Clarke was driving a Renault Grand Scenic that eyewitnesses said ‘flipped through the air’ in an incident involving a marked police car.

The Boots worker from Barnstaple said he believes the prayers he said at the moment of impact help spare him and the lives of the police officers involved.

"I don’t blame the police, they were just doing their job."

Bruce Clarke

The chorister was on his way to rehearsals with Barnstaple Male Voice Choir in Fremington when the incident occurred at around 7.30pm on Monday, March 26.

He said: “I’m lucky to be alive. It happened in a flash; I knew I was leaving the ground and I just shut my eyes, held onto the steering wheel and said my prayers. I thought I was dead.”

Mr Clarke was left hanging by his seat beat for an hour-and-a-half as rescuers battled to free him from his overturned mobility vehicle, specially adapted for the rheumatoid arthritis sufferer.

“I was dangling for what seemed an eternity and firefighters and doctors took turns to hold my head,” he said.

"I would like to thank everyone who stopped to help me as it is a miracle that I survived this accident."

Bruce Clarke

“I could feel the seat belts tighten around my ribs and hips and sometimes it felt like the circulation was being cut off to my legs.”

Mr Clarke’s jeans, t-shirt and seat belt all had to be cut from his body. Ironically, the football fan was wearing a Glasgow Rangers shirt with the words ‘We don’t do walking away’ emblazoned on the back.

Luckily for him, after being rushed to hospital on a stretcher board, he managed to do just that only a few days later.

“I have bruising but they won’t be able to tell how serious it is for a couple of weeks,” he said.

Son Derek added: “It is a very big relief to see him walk away from such an horrific accident.

“He had just left my house five minutes before to collect his brand new Rangers shirt which had arrived that morning.

“Unfortunately this was cut off, but rather that than the alternative.”

A police officer is understood to be still recovering from fracture injuries received in the accident, while the driver of the patrol car was treated at the scene for shock.

Mr Clarke said: “I would like to thank everyone who stopped to help me as it is a miracle that I survived this accident.

“I’d particularly like to thank the police officer who came to my assistance immediately after my vehicle came to rest, despite his colleague still being trapped.

“I don’t blame the police, they were just doing their job. The events that happened were just very unfortunate.

“The police have been very good; they couldn’t have been more helpful.”

Following an assessment, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had decided not to investigate the case, and had left the incident in the hands of local investigators.

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said the driver of the police car had been suspended from driving marked police vehicles while an investigation is carried out, in line with normal procedures.

The spokesperson said: “Any incident that involves a police vehicle will be investigated thoroughly to ensure our officers are working within force policy.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Phil Rayment photographed the Velella Velella on Westward Ho! beach.

Creature found on Westward Ho! beach is identified as a ‘by the wind sailor’.

Read more
16 minutes ago
Green Lanes in Barnstaple.

Green Lanes Shopping Centre, Tuesday, August 4

Read more

A woman was taken to hospital after five fire crews battled to fight blaze at Torrington terraced home.

Read more

Police appeal for information after three birds found dead following ‘rare’ poison attack

Read more
Fiona Leighton-Fowler with Jessie Head, Marie Curie fundraiser for Devon. Picture: Sarah Howells

Braunton woman is raising money for Maria Curie by completing 50 challenges ahead of her 50th birthday.

Read more
08:00
ndg Orchard Vale Exmoor Youth Challenge Team with money raised.

Pupils raise £475.50 for Children’s Hospice South West with charity trek.

Read more
Do you recognise any of these items recovered by Barnstaple police?

Police have released a series of images of silver items believed to have been stolen in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Bideford and South Molton.

Read more
Sunshine at the North Devon Show.

The North Devon Show returns on Wednesday, August 5, with a jam-packed list of events. Find out 10 of the best things to look forward to here...

Read more
Yesterday, 14:41

Young people sprayed from passing car with ‘aggravating’ mysterious liquid

Read more
Yesterday, 14:37
Chivenor's Sea King was called to assists an injured paraglider on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Andy Keeble

RAF Sea King helicopter called following mid-flight incident.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder