86-year-old killed by runaway lorry in Largs

A PENSIONER has died in Largs after being trapped under a parked car which had been shunted by a runaway lorry.

Police at the scene of the accident in Waterside Street, Largs. Picture: James Williamson

The tragedy happened when an unoccupied HGV rolled down a road in the North Ayrshire town. The lorry struck a car, which then hit the 86-year-old man, trapping him underneath.

Firemen worked to release the pensioner, who had been walking along Waterside Street at 11:30am yesterday, but he died at the scene.

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Three other parked cars were damaged in the collision, but no-one else was injured.

The road had been shut earlier that day for resurfacing.

A spokeswoman for Hamilton Tarmac, which owned the HGV, said they were “utterly devastated” by the incident.

She explained that the vehicle had not been travelling at speed. “The driver had stepped out of his lorry to check how much tarmac was left and that was it. The engine was still running. It was so quick.

“It was not as if the lorry was doing huge speed. But the vehicle is so heavy.”

She added: “We just don’t know what to say. It is such a terrible, terrible tragedy. Our thoughts are with the gentleman’s family.

“The driver of the lorry was taken home. He was in total shock, we all are, and I know Mr Hamilton [the company’s owner] is devastated.

“We just don’t know yet how this happened. Of course there will be an investigation into what happened – and the lorry and all its parts will be checked to see if they were working properly – but at the moment we are all at a total loss and so upset by this.”

Local residents also expressed their shock.

One woman who worked in a Largs pub, but who did not want to be named, said everyone was talking about the incident.

She said: “People keep coming in and asking if anyone knows what happened.”

Another pub worker said at first people were unsure of what had happened in yesterday’s incident. “Initially, people were saying the road had been closed because of a gas leak or something, but then more details started coming out and we heard all the emergency services racing to the street.

“People have been saying how terrible this is, for the gentleman killed and his family. They are also remembering a recent accident here which killed two elderly people. This is just such sad news.”

Last month, Bob Simpson, 87, and his wife, Rose, 84, died after they were hit by a car as they crossed the A78 Greenock Road, on the town’s seafront.

Largs councillor Alex Gallagher said that he was saddened to hear of the news.

He said: “My thoughts are with the family of the gentleman who was killed. This is a real tragedy for them, and for the whole town. It’s a real human disaster and such a terrible shame.”

Appealing for witnesses, Sergeant Mark McGowan of Police Scotland said: “We believe that an unoccupied heavy goods vehicle rolled down Waterside Street, Largs, and struck a Peugeot 205 parked nearby. This resulted in the Peugeot striking the 86-year-old man.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at about 11:30 this morning and witnessed the crash to come forward. Any person with information is asked to telephone Road Policing on 101.”

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed and a report will be submitted to the procurator-fiscal.