A Banbury couple watched in horror as a driverless HGV gathered speed on a steep hill and careered into their home.
Paul Nash and his wife Kathleen were leaving their Balmoral Avenue house last Friday afternoon, when the 20-tonne lorry, loaded with a heavy digger, came free and started heading towards the couple’s detached home, with the driver chasing alongside.
Mr Nash said: “Basically it was a low loader picking up a digger up the top. They were putting it on the back and the lorry started moving.
“It ran down the hill, hit a telegraph pole, which isn’t there anymore, hit next door’s garden wall, slid down the wall and came to rest on our house.”
In what can only be described as a miraculous escape, no one was injured during the incident nor was there any significant damage caused aside from the demolished garden wall and the corner of the Nashes’ home, which took the brunt of the lorry’s weight.
Mr Nash said: “We were just going out, Kathleen was sat in the car and I was locking the door. She jumped out of the car and shouted to me there’s a lorry coming down the hill with no driver in it.
“She was sort of staring at it so I grabbed her and pulled around the corner by the garage. Then there was a big bang.”
Mrs Nash said: “It rumbled, the actual house rumbled, I could feel it. What was worse was to look up and see no one in the cab and then I saw the driver running by the side.”
The telegraph pole was snapped at its base and fell across the road without causing further damage to either cars or buildings.
Damage to the Nashs’ house, which was concentrated on the front corner of the home, was to be assessed by a surveyor late on Tuesday (April 25).
The bulldozer was being used in a field at the top of Balmoral Avenue’s formidable incline and it was only through hitting static objects and veering off the road that a bigger and potentially deadly accident was averted.
Mrs Nash said: “If it hadn’t had hit the pole, if it had gone another six yards it could have gone straight down into the houses. It was beginning to get faster.”
Aside from losing their Internet service and a few visible cracks inside the home’s spare bedroom which Mr Nash uses as an art room, the couple have not been made homeless by the accident.
The driver of the lorry was left visibly shaken by the affair and was offered a hot drink by the Nash’s neighbour.
Mr Nash said: “Everyone came running out. The neighbours made the lorry driver a cup of tea and we went across the road. The fire service didn’t want us in here as they didn’t know whether it was safe or not.”
The couple have lived in the home for the last 12 years but have never witnessed anything like this even in the winter months when the slope and ice can be a recipe for disaster.
Mr Nash said: “Two minutes later we wouldn’t have been here. Perhaps in a way if we hadn’t have seen it happen it wouldn’t have been so stressful.
“We haven’t been sleeping brilliantly since.”
Both fire rescue and the police attended the incident with no arrests or injuries reported.