Glasgow bin lorry crashes after driver ‘takes ill’

RESIDENTS of a busy Glasgow street have described the “scary” moment when a bin lorry veered off the road and crashed into the garden of a house.

The bin lorry can be seen in the front garden with emergency services in attendance. Picture: Caroline Dunnett
The bin lorry can be seen in the front garden with emergency services in attendance. Picture: Caroline Dunnett

Emergency services were called to the scene in the southside of the city at around 11:20am yesterday after the vehicle careered into the front garden of the semi-detached property.

It is thought the driver of the lorry was taken ill while on his rounds in the Croftfoot area, although last night police would not comment on speculation.

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The driver was taken to the city’s Victoria Infirmary for ­observation. No-one else was injured in the incident.

The incident comes just after it was revealed the upcoming Fatal Accident Inquiry into the fatal Glasgow bin lorry crash last December will look at the driver’s medical background and his fitness to hold a driving licence.

Meanwhile, the Unite and GMB trade unions are due to hold a joint meeting today where the issue of health and safety relating to bin lorry drivers will be on the agenda.

In yesterday’s incident, the Glasgow City Council lorry left the road of Croftside Avenue and ploughed through garden hedges before coming to a stop just yards from a house.

Eyewitnesses said other workers were outside the vehicle at the time, and may have helped the lorry stop.

Julie Beckett, 43, who lives two houses down from where the lorry came to a halt, said the driver appeared to be unconscious at the wheel.

She said: “I opened the curtains just as it was happening and couldn’t believe it. The driver was slumped over the wheel and he looked out cold.

“The lorry wasn’t going very fast but I think the hedges stopped it coming through the houses.

“You could hear the engine of the truck coming down but it wasn’t going at any speed.

“Even still, there was a split second when I thought it was coming straight for the house.

“The two other boys [ie, lorry workers] were outside of the truck working; I don’t know if they hit a stop button at the back of the truck to stop it.”

Kerry Callaghan, 26, said she believed another of the council workers was able to apply the handbrake inside the lorry.

She said: “I thought it was just the postman when I first heard it, it’s really weird that this has happened. I could see from my window that most of the bushes have collapsed.

“Thankfully one of the council workers in the van pressed the handbrake in enough time to stop it from causing much more damage.”

Kathy Allan, 58, said: “It’s quite a scary thing to happen. The street is usually quite busy with kids out playing, but the bad weather has kept them in.”

Another resident, Rhonda McLay, 37, said: “After what happened in George Square at Christmas, this is a pretty scary thing to have happen in your street.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We are aware of an incident in which a bin lorry left the road earlier this morning. The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital to be checked over.

“It is a huge relief that no-one appears to have been injured. We are assisting the police with their inquiries.”

Police Scotland said inquiries into the incident are continuing. The vehicle was removed from the scene yesterday afternoon.

The FAI into the George Square tragedy is scheduled to begin on 22 July. A preliminary hearing took place at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday.

Six people died and ten more were injured when the bin lorry crashed into pedestrians near George Square in the city centre on 22 December.

The inquiry will also consider the vehicle itself and whether it was appropriate for it to take the route it did.