Update: Witnesses describe fatal crash in Halesworth
08:47 21 February 2014
Police are piecing together the events that led to a fatal road collision in a north Suffolk town centre.
Halesworth was brought to a standstill when a car collided with a shop in Bridge Street at about 3.10pm on Thursday, killing a man thought to be in his 80s.
The blue Volvo crashed into the side of Valeries – formerly The Hawk Inn and now a women’s clothing store.
Firefighters from Halesworth, Bungay and Lowestoft, along with police and the ambulance service were called to the scene, where the single occupant of the car was pronounced dead.
Valerie Large, who owns the clothing store but was not in at the time, said: “It’s just awful isn’t it? It’s somebody’s tragedy. It’s sad for the family.
“A friend rang me to ask if I was alright.
“It’s a listed building and the police lady said I can’t get anywhere near it until they have found out whether it’s structurally sound.”
The shopowner said that the building was of historical significance to the town and also comprised three self contained flats.
The road, which leads to the town’s main shopping street, The Thoroughfare, was closed in both directions for several hours while emergency services remained on scene.
One witness said: “People went over to help him but then a paramedic turned up and the next minute police were there too.
“Luckily it’s half-term and the library was shut. Usually there would be children hanging around outside. It could have been much worse.”
Although the library was closed, Djamila Ritchie was attending an exercise class at the time in the building, which is next door to the scene of the accident.
Mrs Ritchie said: “There was a big bang and we had a look outside.
“There were no other cars involved.”
The East of England Ambulance Service sent a rapid response car, a paramedic officer and an ambulance to the scene.
An ambulance spokesman said: “The man died at the scene, there was not much we could do, unfortunately. He was trapped and he could not be removed from the car quickly enough for us to be able to save him.”
Police and fire crews left the scene of the crash at about 7.40pm. A police spokesman said road diversions are in place until engineers declare the building safe.