Fatal A47 crash took me back to son’s death, says driver

A woman has escaped unscathed from a crash in which a lorry driver died – 10 months after another crash killed her 24-year-old son.

Saturday's accident happened near the A47 junction with the A140 at Harford Bridges at 10am, and resulted in the road being closed in both directions for nearly six hours while police investigated.

Caroline Barnes suffered no injuries from the accident, but sent her sympathies to the family of the lorry driver, whose identity has not yet been released.

And she criticised motorists who complained at delays to their journeys while police made enquiries, explaining that the investigation would be vital for the victim's family – as it had been for her when her son, Sam, died while driving on the B1136 in Haddiscoe.

'I can't believe how I've walked away from it. It's just amazing that I haven't even got a scratch,' she said.

'But some other poor family have lost someone very close to them.

'They will be going through the disbelief that goes with it, and it will be with them for a long time.'

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Mrs Barnes, 54, praised the 'professional and respectful' response of the emergency services, and the help of members of the public who included an off-duty doctor and nurses.

'I was amazed at how people come together in those circumstances,' she said. 'The police were on the scene exceptionally quickly and had everything under complete control.

'I was treated with respect and courtesy and they took so much care over me.'

Mrs Barnes, who lives near Attleborough, continued: 'It's crucial that you can get some answers so that you are not left guessing, so that you know what happened.

'When Sam had his accident, I had to find out what happened, or else I would have been wondering for the rest of my life.

'I can't believe that a man died, and yet people are complaining that they were delayed by an hour and a half.'

Police are investigating the exact circumstances of the collision, in which Mrs Barnes's Seat Leon collided with the lorry and the central reservation, and are continuing to appeal for witnesses.

She said she had quickly realised how the seriousness of the accident – even as it was happening.

'In my own mind, I had got to the point where I thought 'If I'm going to roll over, then I'm going to roll'. I was pretty aware instantly how serious it was.'

As the accident was unfolding around her, she had time to take stock of what was going on.

'I didn't feel panicked: I just dealt with what I had to do. It's just how the body works,' she said. 'I was very lucky.'

The A47 was closed in both directions after the collision, in which the lorry spilt its cargo of potatoes and two other cars suffered minor damage, and was partially reopened by 4.40pm while repairs were made to the central reservation.

Sgt Ade Hales from the roads policing unit said: 'We'd like to thank all those motorists who were stuck in traffic for their patience and understanding while we recovered the vehicles and carried out the necessary investigations.

'We are grateful for their consideration and appreciate it must have been very frustrating.

'However, this was an extremely serious and complicated collision and it was important that the carriageway was made safe before we allowed the traffic to get moving again.'

Anyone with information about Saturday's crash should contact police on 101.

Do you have a story to tell? Contact reporter Mark Shields on 01603 772423 or email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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