by Louise Doyle
AN elderly Letterkenny man had a lucky escape from serious injury after a speeding car left the road and crashed into a tree in his garden, just metres from his home.
Only discharged from hospital a few weeks ago where he was being treated for six weeks for chest problems, Samuel Russell was recovering at his Dromore home when the incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
It’s understood the driver of the Vauxhall Corsa 10 car was left “shaken” after the incident. The car was also badly damaged upon impact.
It’s the second time a vehicle has collided in the vicinity of his home, close to Archview Nursing Home. Six years ago a car lost control on the road and landed on top of his wall.
Mr Russell, (73) who had been asleep at the time of the collision, said he was frightened after waking up and discovering the crashed car and debris in his garden. He feared someone had been killed, such was the extent of the damage.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Mr Russell said: “The crash happened at 3am, the fella came in from the dual carriageway at the slipway, from the Derry end. He didn’t slow down. Instead of stopping, he went over the grass and crashed into the tree in my garden. He must have lost control of the car.”
Mr Russell said that while he usually doesn’t sleep very well, he knew of nothing until he awoke the next morning.
“I thought I had heard the sound of a trailer but I wasn’t sure. I don’t usually sleep very well but I must have fallen to sleep on this night. I only got out of hospital where I was for six weeks, so I am still very weak.
“When I got up and l saw what had happened I got a fright because I thought someone must have been killed. I know it was a young fella driving the car and he is very shaken up.
“The branches on my tree are broken off which is not an easy thing to do so he must have hit the tree with some force. All the airbags went out in the car as well.”
Ramps have been put in-situ on the road outside Mr Russell’s home in the last number of years, which, he said, has helped curbed speeding in the area.
“There was another crash here about six years ago when a car crashed and ended up landing on top of my wall. If they (drivers) come up the road too hard they hit the wall and it knocks them across the road and they head for this wall of mine.
“Once you lose control of a car, you never get it back. I’m not so much troubled by speeders now since the ramps were put in place, but that was the reason they had to be put in the first place.”
Elsewhere, one eyewitness described the wake of the incident as “something out of the Dukes of Hazard”.
“There was debris everywhere. It was like a scene out of the Dukes of Hazzard. We really thought someone had been killed. We’re very angry about this because it isn’t the first time it has happened.”
A Garda spokespersons said: “Gardai were carrying out a speed checkpoint when the driver failed to stop. He was travelling at 147kph in a 100kph zone. He was arrested.”
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Posted: 4:30 pm January 27, 2017