A driver is fighting for his life after his coach smashed through the central reservation of a busy Peterborough parkway on Saturday (14 May).
The 50-year-old was cut free from the wreckage following the crash near to Junction 4 of A1139 Fletton Parkway at Stanground at 12.30pm.
He was then taken to Peterborough City Hospital, where he spent the weekend.
Inspector Terry Furlong said the driver was from the Nottingham area, adding: “The driver remains in a critical condition. His family are aware and have been with him at the hospital.”
Forty-four elderly passengers were on board the coach at the time but miraculously all were uninjured, except for one woman who suffered neck injuries as a result of the incident.
The severity of the crash meant that the entire road was closed until around 5pm.
At that time, police reopened the westbound carriageway of the road and one lane of the eastbound carriageway. The final lane reopened the following day.
One of the passengers on the coach told the Evening Telegraph’s website, that the crash had been terrifying.
She said: “It was a very horrible and scary experience to go through. My heart goes out to Colin – the driver – and his family and I wish him well.
“The passengers on the coach don’t really know what happened. It was all so quick.”
The drama began when the coach, believed to be a Nottingham City Coaches vehicle returning from a trip to Great Yarmouth, suddenly swerved across the road and into the central reservation on the busy parkway.
It smashed through the barrier before coming to a stop on the outside lane of the eastbound carriageway.
Eyewitness, Rowen Squibb, a senior executive at Growborough, said it was like a scene from a disaster movie, as he took evasive action with the bus careering towards him.
He said: “How the coach missed me I have no idea.
“I saw this debris flying around, then these metal spikes hit my bonnet and flew over the roof and the bus just seemed to keep coming through the barrier.
“I made a sharp left and somehow the bus went behind me. It left me shaken, you never expect to see a bus coming through a central reservation at you. Thank God for those safety barriers.”
Two ambulances, two rapid response medical cars, the police helicopter and three fire crews arrived minutes later.
Police immediately began to close the parkway to traffic while medics battled to treat the gravely injured driver.
Shocked coach passengers escaped from the vehicle through the back emergency exit and were taken to a grass verge where they huddled in the wind in blankets watching the drama unfold.
The Magpas Helimedix team arrived in the police helicopter to assist ambulance crews while firefighters cut open the front of the bus to release the driver.
A spokesman for Magpas said their medics successfully resuscitated the driver, before giving him special drug therapy to maintain his blood pressure.
They continued to treat him as he was taken to hospital in an ambulance by road.
A fire service spokeswoman confirmed the fire service were called as their specialist cutting equipment was needed to remove the front of the coach and free the injured driver.
She said: “A crew and the rescue vehicle from Dogsthorpe and an engine from Stanground were in attendance.
“The driver was in a bad way and firefighters managed to free him. Fortunately all the passengers were wearing seatbelts which kept injuries to a minimum.
“The remaining firefighters helped shepherd the remaining 40 or so passengers to safety and helped ambulance crews check them over.”
The passengers were then taken to Haddon Services where they were picked up by a replacement coach.