Mother tells of horror as sunbathing couple are run over in Earlham Park in Norwich

Terri and Gareth Chandler with their children Jack, six, and Grace, four. Picture: Courtesy the Chan

Terri and Gareth Chandler with their children Jack, six, and Grace, four. Picture: Courtesy the Chandler family - Credit: Archant

Witnesses have told how a sunny Sunday afternoon in a Norwich park turned to a scene of horror after a young sunbathing couple were allegedly run over by a truck.

The couple, a 19-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, suffered devastating injuries after the incident involving a Norse 4x4 vehicle in Earlham Park.

Terri Chandler, 29, had been enjoying a relaxing visit to the park with her husband Gareth, son Jack, six, and daughter Grace, four, when the drama unfolded at shortly before 6pm on Sunday, June 18.

Mrs Chandler, who lives in Nelson Close, Hethersett, said: 'The kids went off paddling in the water and we went and sat on the bench. We were going to sit on the grass, where these guys were, and we would have been sat there with our children if the bench had not been free.

'After a while the couple came and sat down next to the bin on the floor.

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'Then a Norse 4x4 truck came along to change the bin and the truck was parked behind the bin.

'The guy got out and we were chatting to him. He changed the rubbish put the bag in the truck and started to reverse.'

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She added: 'I started screaming at him to stop and telling him there were people there but he didn't hear. I was screaming at him to stop but then he stopped on them.

'I was screaming so he reversed back off him and back over her again.

'I ran over and Gareth ran over and we called the ambulance straight away.

'You could see he was in a lot of pain.'

Mrs Chandler said: 'The police said if I hadn't screamed they wouldn't be here today because both wheels would have gone over them and they wouldn't have survived it.

'I said to Gareth that had the bench not have been free that's where we would have sat with the children and no child would have survived that. They are very lucky to be alive.'

The man sustained trauma injuries to the liver, stomach and a kidney, while the woman suffered a broken vertebrae, collarbone and a fracture to the sternum.

They were taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) for treatment.

An NNUH spokesman said the man had since returned home, and the woman was still in hospital, in a stable condition.

Incident is under investigation

The driver of the vehicle has been spoken to by police and enquiries are ongoing, with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive.

A spokesman for the services firm said they were also investigating the incident.

The spokesman said: 'We are investigating how two members of the public came to be injured on Sunday, June 18 evening following an incident involving a Norwich Norse environmental van making a routine litter collection near the river in Earlham Park.'

The spokesman went onto give his regards to the injured couple.

He said the Norse driver involved was not currently working with the firm.

The spokesman said: 'Our thoughts and best wishes are with both injured people at what is clearly a very distressing time. Our driver is currently off work and is being offered support.

'We will assist Norfolk Constabulary and the Health and Safety Executive in their enquiries in any way we can.'

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