TRIBUTES were paid yesterday to four people killed when a loaded tipper lorry careered out of control down a steep hill near a primary school.
Mitzi Rosanna Steady, four, taxi driver Stephen Vaughan, 34, and company director Phil Allen, 52, were killed together with another man from South Wales in the accident in Weston, Bath, on Monday.
The lorry driver was believed to be only 19.
Police said Mitzi’s grandmother, who was walking with her, remained in a critical condition in hospital.
In a short statement, the child’s family, from Bath, said: “Mitzi Rosanna Steady, aged four, loved and missed by us all.”
Mr Vaughan, from Penyrheol, near Gorseinon, Swansea, ran a luxury taxi firm and married fiancée Sian in Turkey last year.
A friend, who did not want to be named, said: “Sian is totally and utterly devastated. They had not even been married for a year.
“Stevie was a dedicated husband and a successful businessman too. It was admirable how he built his business up and made a real go of it. He was always polite and punctual and great conversation.”
Father-of-two Mr Allen was resources and external affairs director for Cardiff-based Western Power Distribution.
Neighbours said he lived in Loughor, Swansea, with wife Caroline. Relatives comforting Mrs Allen, 53, said she was too distressed to speak to the media.
The fourth victim killed in the crash was a 59-year-old from Cwmbran.
Two other people suffered minor injuries, including the lorry driver. His Scania articulated lorry, carrying sand and gravel, hit the pedestrians before overturning on to a Volvo at the bottom of Lansdown Lane just after 4pm, leaving a scene described by one witness as “absolute carnage”.
Chief inspector Norman Pascal said that after striking Mitzi and her grandmother, the lorry carried on down the road for about 200 yards. He said it hit at least three vehicles, with the Volvo left “almost crushed” and two other cars ending in the middle of the road. Other vehicles were damaged, although it is still not clear if they were hit by the lorry or debris.
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Mr 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 to find out what happened.
“The driver appears to have lost some sort of control. He knocked over a young girl and critically injured her grandmother.
“The driver has been spoken to briefly and he is still in hospital. I know he is injured but he is not critical.”
Brian Fisher, 53, was working nearby with a colleague when he heard the 32-tonne lorry’s windows shatter. He said: “It was carnage, absolute carnage.”
Mr Fisher’s colleague called 999 and relayed details of the casualties to the emergency operator. “He went further up the road and that’s where he saw the little girl,” Mr Fisher said. “We went to the silver car in which the three people died.
“We didn’t see it at first, it was at the other side of the lorry. We rushed there and tried to do what we could to lift bits of the car off and get them out, but you wouldn’t recognise it as a car.
“I couldn’t even tell you what make it was – the damage was that bad. There was a nurse who tried to clear a guy’s airway but it didn’t work.
“I don’t know where they found the third person because we only found two. I spoke to a police officer who said that in 25 years he had never seen anything like this.”
The devastation was clear today, with garden walls and road signs crushed on the ground. A “School” sign lay in a pile of metal and rubble next to bricks, bollards and foliage ripped from a nearby garden.
Early witness reports suggested that the driver had desperately tried to prevent the accident.