A TEENAGER says she was seconds away from being killed or seriously injured after a runaway tractor smashed into her home, causing an estimated £25,000 worth of damage.
Bexi Hebbourn, 16, was on her way to put washing in a tumble dryer when the vehicle burst through the backyard wall and collided with the outbuilding she was about to enter.
The collision threw tonnes of rubble and masonry right at the place where she would have been standing for the dryer.
Bexi said that bricks ‘the height of her rib-cage’ surrounded the tumble dryer, which had its door ripped off, while the top of a nearby chest freezer was ripped from its hinges and a family bike destroyed.
Neighbours described the moment of impact as like ‘an earthquake’.
The accident happened on Old Hall Road in Ulverston on Sunday on a route often used by farm workers to head to and from the town, Bexi said: “I was walking down to the tumble dryer to put some clothes in with a basket in my hand and a couple of moments later something hit the wall and then the door of the wall came flying off and nearly hit our dogs, Rusty and Beatrix.
“There was a big tractor wheel poking out. If I had set off to put the washing in 10 seconds later, I would have been standing there.”
She added: “My first reaction wasn’t shock or surprise – it just seemed to happen like it was a cartoon. It was only when I saw the damage, and the rubble that would have been piled up to my ribs, that I realised. I felt very lucky and shocked.”
The driver of the vehicle – a farm worker – was not injured in the incident. Cumbria Police are now investigating and have met with Mrs Hebbourn and Bexi, who has just finished her GCSEs at Ulverston Victoria High School.
The formal cause of the accident has not yet been determined. There have been initial theories that it may have been due to the steering column of the tractor failing – although this too has yet to be formally given as the cause.
Bexi’s mum Kay, a self-employed businesswoman, is now into looking to what traffic calming measures could be installed on the lane, which is regularly used by farm traffic. Kay, 49, said: “It makes me realise that everything can be replaced but had anything happened to Bexi it would be so horrendous. Fortunately she is ok. The police have said there have been five incidents all on the same stretch of road.”