Police piece together what happened when 82-year-old woman was hit by a lorry
When an 82-year-old woman was hit by a lorry and killed outside a Newport bingo hall, police couldn’t initially work out how the driver had not seen her. The horrendous accident happened near a pedestrian crossing on Usk Way, Newport city centre, as the elderly woman crossed on her way to play at Castle Bingo. The 45-year-old lorry driver was initially arrested at the scene because police believed he must have seen the woman before hitting her.
He said he wished he knew what had happened. He said as he prepared to pull away, he carried out a series of checks in his mirrors and only realised something was happening when the driver behind was sounding the horn and flashing the lights. PC Richie Wyatt said: “There’s so many factors in collisions with pedestrians, the visibility of the pedestrian, the colour of clothing.
“If the person is wearing a pink jacket at 10 in the morning, then the person should be visible. So then if she is walking in front of him [the driver] why hasn’t he seen her?”
The lorry parked at the scene of the crash (Image: BBC)
An individual who witnessed the crash was following behind the lorry and said that the woman was hit and then dragged under the lorry. The investigation has been the focus of the latest episode of BBC Wales programme The Crash Detectives, and how a painstaking reconstruction at the scene helped police officers piece together what happened.
By using dashcam footage from the lorry and surrounding CCTV cameras they were able to work out that the pensioner had come out of a nearby Lidl supermarket, but had not used the pedestrian crossing to get across the road to the bingo hall. Officers recreated events using a female police officer who was the same height as the victim, and dressed in a similar way. The lorry involved was parked at the scene where the crash happened, and a police officer who was the same height as the driver was placed in the cab so they could work out if he would have been able to see the woman crossing in front of his cab.
Using the footage and detailed measurements from the scene, they were able to work out this would have been the view of the driver at the time of the collision.
A reconstruction of the scene (Image: BBC)
The picture above is taken from the reconstruction at the scene as police investigated the crash. They worked out the driver would only have been able to see the top of the woman’s head and he would have been looking at the traffic lights in front of him as they had just turned green.
A 5ft 6ins police officer offered to help with the reconstruction because she was the same height as the victim (Image: BBC Wales)
PC Wyatt and his colleague worked out that as the woman would have just come into view the traffic lights went from amber to green. “There was a very, very limited view of where the pedestrian would have been,” he told the programme. “I don’t think the driver could have done a lot more.”
No charges were brought against the lorry driver, and the inquest was told he was not to blame for the woman’s death. The coroner said it was an accident that was a tragedy for her family and friends. * Catch up with the latest series of The Crash Detectives on iPlayer.
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