Bowls tragedy: Sidmouth players’ ordeal in out-of-control car
PUBLISHED: 09:45 13 March 2012
SIDMOUTH bowls players steered an out-of-control-car into a wall to avoid a queue of traffic when their teammate suddenly collapsed at the wheel.
John Mason, 65, described the frantic and tragic moment popular pensioner Colin Bryant suffered a fatal medical episode while driving to a match last Saturday.
Shocked passengers, Mr Mason, and fellow bowler David Hughes, found themselves careering towards other vehicles in Station Road and battled for 50 yards to halt the Renault Scenic.
“It all happened within seconds,” said Mr Mason.
The stretch was shut for more than an hour as emergency services raced to the scene at around 9.15am.
Tributes have been paid to Mr Bryant, of Newton Poppleford, who was described as a “gentleman” with a talent and love for bowls.
“He had just picked me up on our way to a match and, without warning, collapsed at the wheel,” said Mr Mason, of West Park Road, who was sitting in the back of the car.
“We were travelling down the road at around 25 miles per hour and had to try and stop. We only realised Colin had collapsed when the car scraped against the side wall. It was a sudden shock to find ourselves in that situation.
“We were heading towards a queue of traffic at the pinch point in the road – and couldn’t find the handbrake. There was an urgency to stop the car before we hit them.
“I leaned forward, grabbed the wheel, and steered the car into the wall. After 40 or 50 yards it stopped.”
A police spokesperson said a 73-year-old casualty was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after suffering a medical episode while driving but died later.
Mr Mason said he and Mr Hughes were not injured.
He added: “Colin was a super guy and very much a gentleman – a man who we all respected.
“We were all talking about a match the previous night when it happened. The last thing Colin said was about bowls – he loved the game.”
Sidmouth Bowling Club captain, Peter Mison, said: “We’re all devastated at the loss.
“Colin was a keen bowler, was full of beans, and was very much looking forward to the game to which he was driving to.”