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The day an HGV's brakes failed in the town centre

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • In these pictures, taken by Mike Hanson, Ashbourne's Market Place is strewn with wreckage and rubble after a quarry truck's brakes failed going down the hill.

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

  • Town centre crash, 1980s

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IT'S an accident that many of us live in constant fear of.

Calls for a bypass have been made for several decades in Ashbourne, to steer heavy lorries away from the town centre.

And as these calls are made, it is often suggested "what if" a lorry was to lose its brakes while descending the steep Buxton Hill.

Thankfully, lorry safety technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since these pictures were taken around the early 1980s.

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But disaster did strike and Mike and Sue Hanson lived a few yards away in Buxton Road when a runaway lorry caused chaos in the Market Place.

Mr Hanson, who took the pictures, believes nobody was killed in the crash but remembers that the driver was trapped for a while.

His quarry lorry, Mr Hanson recalls, was on its way down the hill when the brakes failed and, heavily laden with stone, careered out of control.

Mr Hanson, who now lives in Warslow, said: "We lived right opposite St John's Church and heard the runaway lorry. I was in the garage at the time and I could hear him blowing his horn to warn people that he was out of control.

"I remember hearing a lot of distant bangs and wallops but that was about it.

"I ran out to see what had happened and when I got to the Market Place I could see the result."

As can be seen from the pictures, two lorries were involved and it is thought the first lorry, another quarry tipper, spotted the driver's peril and slammed on his brakes, trying desperately to slow the runaway down.

If this was indeed the case, his actions may well have prevented a much worse incident.

As it happened, damage was caused to cars parked nearby, a bench, and curiously, a lawnmower, crushed by one of the falling wagons.

Mr Hanson, who is now 72 and was a self-employed furniture-maker in the town at the time of the crash, is unsure of the year it happened but thinks it might have been in the early 1980s. Can anyone confirm this?

Perhaps one of our readers might have more pictures of the crash, or similar incidents?

Anyone who would like to share Memory Lane pictures with our readers is welcome to drop in photographs at our Market Place office, where we will scan them in and hand them straight back to you.

Alternatively, email images to editorial@ashbournenewstelegraph.co.uk or call 01335 342847 to share your memories.

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