Sidmouth family: ‘We are so lucky to be alive after crash’

The Bishop's car.

The Bishop's car. - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth family feel ‘lucky to be alive’ after walking away from a 70mph car smash with minor injuries.

The family during a visit to Graham's Aunty Joyce last Saturday. From L-R James, Anne, Joyce, Graha

The family during a visit to Graham's Aunty Joyce last Saturday. From L-R James, Anne, Joyce, Graham, Neil - Credit: Archant

Anne and Graham Bishop and sons, James and Neil, were travelling back from St Albans on Easter Monday when their vehicle collided with a car pulling out from a junction on the A303, near Tintinhull.

The family’s Seat Leon Xperience span into a hedge and was written off in the smash.

The Bishops, of Primley Road, managed to get out of their wrecked vehicle, which they had only bought in September, and call the police.

“We’re trying not to play the ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ game,” said Anne, who is chairman of Sidmouth Twinning Circle. “We are so lucky to be alive.”

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The family, who had been visiting relatives over Easter, were around 35 miles from home when Graham said he saw a vehicle, which police later told him was driven by an American tourist, moving out from a junction to cross the A303.

“With only yards to spare, she rolled into our carriageway as we cruised along in daylight at 70mph in our new car,” said retired BT facilities manager Graham.

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“It was an American lady on holiday in a hire car that rolled out into our slow lane to cross the A303 to the other side. She told the police she looked the wrong way.

“I tried to swerve around her, but she just kept coming out, causing us to hit and spin and travel backwards and sideways at high speed and crash into trees backwards hundreds of yards further on.

“Windows exploded, there was glass everywhere and we were trapped for minutes until we forced two doors open. We were so lucky.”

After being treated by paramedics, 20-year-old James, who works as a computer animated design technician, was taken to Yeovil Hospital on a backboard after suffering neck injuries.

Anne, a retired midwife, also received a check-up at the hospital. Both were allowed to return home on the same evening.

Following further check-ups at hospital this week, Graham is being treated for a bruised kidney and Anne for a broken finger.

Neil, 28, who lives in St Albans, suffered a burn on his left side after the explosion from an air bag burnt through his clothes. He had been staying with his family in Sidmouth as part of his preparations for the London Marathon.

An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said that police received reports of a two-car collision at 4.08pm on Monday on the west-bound carriageway of the A303 between Illminster and Cartgate. Police closed the road while the vehicles were recovered and reopened it by 5.54pm.

The spokesman added that the police would not be carrying out any further investigations.

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