Crash and diesel spill close the centre of Havant

SCENE The pile-up of cars in Park Road North, Havant. Picture: Jeff Travis
SCENE The pile-up of cars in Park Road North, Havant. Picture: Jeff Travis
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THE CENTRE of Havant was closed off after a freak crash and a major diesel spill.

Eyewitnesses watched in disbelief as a lorry drove along one of the town’s busiest roads with a car attached to its front.

The grey Hyundai car, which had been spun around, then crashed into traffic coming from the opposite direction in Park Road North.

Cars piled into the back of each other as they slammed on the brakes.

It is thought the Hyundai and lorry had collided further up the road, although the circumstances of the crash are still being investigated.

A burst fuel tank in the lorry caused more than 20 litres of diesel to spill on to the highway.

Firefighters had to cordon off part of West Street, close to McDonald’s, as a safety precaution.

Three fire engines, an ambulance and police cars were called to the crash shortly after 3pm today and both lanes of Park Road North were closed from West Street to Elm Lane.

Lizzie Matthews, 21, from Leigh Park, was driving her Ford Focus north when she saw the lorry coming towards her.

She said: ‘I heard a screech.

‘I looked up and saw the lorry coming along with the silver car in front of it.

‘The silver car had been spun round.

‘It was horrible.’

Polly Matthews, 48, who was in the passenger seat, said: ‘I heard Lizzie swear.

‘I saw was the lorry with the car in front of it.

‘It was very strange. Then I saw the lorry stop. I got out and phoned the police.’

She added: ‘When he got out the lorry driver said “what happened?”

‘I don’t think he realised there was a silver car stuck in front of him.

‘He’s got no damage to the front of his lorry.’

No-one was hurt in the crash, although the elderly couple who were in the grey Hyundai were said to be very shaken and were taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital for a check-up.

Dozens of people gathered by the roadside after the crash to watch the clean-up operation.

Katie McGrew, 18, from Hayling Island, said: ‘You can really smell the petrol.’

Daniel Downie, 20, added: ‘They were here straight away.

‘They closed off the road really quickly.’

Laura Gibson, 25, said: ‘There was a screech and then a bang.

‘I looked round and saw the lorry pulling over. I think a car had been going too quickly and slammed on its brakes.’

Boarhunt Recovery took away the wrecked cars and firefighters mopped up the spillage.

David Hodge, station commander at Havant fire station, said: ‘Our major role was to make the scene safe.

‘There was diesel leaking from the lorry. We stopped it from entering the drains. We absorbed the fuel with pads and then handed it over to highways to finish clearing it up.’

Traffic was diverted until the road was re-opened at about 5pm.