A spectator that was injured in the horrific crash during a car ‘cruise’ event at Peterborough on Saturday night has revealed that he ‘feels lucky to be alive’ after being struck by the out of control vehicle.
The incident happened in an industrial estate area in Stapledon Road, Orton Southgate at around 11.30pm when a car taking part in a ‘drifting’ event ploughed into a crowd of spectators.
Eight people were taken to Peterborough Hospital in a serious condition, with one suffering with what was described as a life-changing injury.
Car photographer Ben Andrews was fortunate to walk away from the scene with minor injuries after being hit by the car while his friend was taken to hospital.
He said: “I was there doing some car photography at 8pm at the first meeting point, two hours later the meet moved to Orton Southgate. The evening began with a good atmosphere full of people just enjoying talking about their cars.
“When we arrived at Orton Southgate we parked up our car and went to find a spot to watch the cars. Stupidly we chose a spot where a month ago another vehicle had crashed on a previous occasion but luckily no one was standing nearby.”
As the night continued a few cars began racing around the industrial estate while a group of around 300 spectators had gathered including Ben and his friend.
Ben said: “At around 10.30–11pm a few cars began to drift and most were all doing well and were fully in control. However, I was at the kerb side when a few cars lost control which gave me and the people around me a second thought to step back.
“Then a Mercedes entered the circuit and quickly lost control at the other side of the track. However, it regained control as it approached us so everyone moved closer to the kerb thinking it would be okay.”
The horrific moment then arrived when the driver lost control of the car as it mounted the pavement at around 30-40mph ploughing into a group of around 14 people including Ben and his friend.
The 22-year old from Spalding said: “I leant forward on one of my legs and just as I moved forward the car came screeching up the kerb, it hit my left leg and flung me and a number of others to the floor. I remember just thinking that I was lucky to be alive.
“The sound was horrific; it was a combination of people screaming, crunching metal and smashing glass while the car engine slowly ticked over. The atmosphere went from a jovial one to sheer panic and most of the spectators drove off.”
Panic set in as spectators rushed to help while Ben’s friend among others had been seriously hurt and needed urgent medical attention.
Ben said: “When I got up my first thought was to attempt to find my friend who had also been hit by the car. I found my friend in a bad way; he was covered in blood and being tended to by a first aider from a local business. At that point the people that remained really pulled together to do anything they could to help.
“There must have been around 14 ambulances quickly on the scene as well as fire engines and police officers. I stayed with my friend to make sure he was okay before he was taken to hospital. It was like a scene out of a horror movie.”
Another bystander Josh Capeling (20) from Turves also recalls a scary evening but heaped praise on the response time of the emergency services.
He said: “At the time of the crash I was about 20 metres away and was looking at another car. I heard a loud bang followed by people screaming and running in a state of pure panic.
“There was about 60 or 70 people that stayed to offer first aid but many people drove off. The emergency services were fantastic and there was plenty of people attending the injured within 15 minutes.”
“I left the scene at around midnight and met up with a few other people who had been at the scene but the atmosphere was horrible and eerily quiet.”