Pensioner survived horror crash ‘because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt’

Roy Woollard, of Apsley, with his new second-hand scooter
Roy Woollard, of Apsley, with his new second-hand scooter

A pensioner who was seriously injured after his mobility scooter was crushed in a road accident says he only survived because he was not wearing his seatbelt.

Roy Woollard, 78, was crossing St Albans Hill in Hemel Hempstead on September 11 last year when he was involved in a collision with a van.

The Hemel Hempstead Gazette front page, Wednesday September 16, 2015

The Hemel Hempstead Gazette front page, Wednesday September 16, 2015

He was rushed to Watford General Hospital with four broken ribs, a punctured lung, damaged vertebrae and a head wound.

At the time, The Gazette published dramatic photos of Mr Woollard’s mobility scooter crushed under the wheels of the van.

The dad-of-two said: “A lot of people have said to me, after seeing that picture, how did you survive that?

“As luck would have it, I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt – though I suppose I should have been.

“But if I had, it would have been much more serious. I’m lucky to be alive.”

At the time, Mr Woollard – who has to use the mobility scooter due to arthritis – was on his way to have lunch at the Super Chef cafe on the ramp in the town centre.

He was using the pelican crossing at the foot of St Albans Hill, just off the Magic Roundabout, when the incident happened.

He recalls the aftermath of the impact, saying: “My face and hands were covered in blood, and there was a lady who told me: ‘Don’t worry sir, the ambulance is coming’, and that’s the last I remember before waking up at Watford.”

After a four-week hospital stay, Mr Woollard returned home to his flat at Florence Longman House in Apsley.

He is still suffering with his injuries, which he says are ‘uncomfortable’ but he is slowly ‘on the mend’.

Now he is appealing for witnesses who saw the incident to come forward. If you saw what happened, please call the news desk on 01296 619762 to pass your details on to Mr Woollard.

Herts Police have confirmed that they are not investigating the incident any further.

A spokesman said: “The incident was looked at by both the Constabulary’s Road Policing Unit and Process and Collisions Unit and there were deemed to be no further lines of enquiry.

“There were no cameras covering the location and all witnesses who made themselves known to officers at the scene had only seen the aftermath of the incident.

“However, if anyone does have any further information about the incident they can contact police on 101.”