AN ILKESTON couple have told the Advertiser of their lucky escape after a tree, blown over by strong winds, crashed through their windscreen as they headed to Derby on a shopping trip.
Charles Horsley, 61, and his wife, Hollie, 54, were driving along Derby Road, Stanley, at 10.10am on Sunday morning when the huge tree fell onto the bonnet of their Nissan Micra and branches smashed through the windscreen.
Mr Horsley, a lorry driver of St John’s Road, said: “It was a brush with death. Ever since we’ve both just been thinking about what could have happened.
“I know you shouldn’t think that way but you can’t help asking yourself what if.
“It was just terrifying. Only a few minutes before I’d said to Hollie about how windy it was and the next thing this tree was just there.
“I slammed the brakes on and it felt like a long time before we stopped but it wasn’t at all.
“It was like driving into a brick wall. The tree was massive and the branches were huge, they could have gone through us, anything could have happened.
After crawling free through the back of the car the couple took stock of what had happened.
“We just couldn’t believe that we were both stood there without a scratch on us and totally uninjured,” added Charles.
“One of the firefighters told me to go and buy a lottery ticket, they couldn’t believe how lucky we were either.”
Firefighters arrived on scene to help clear the tree and police closed the road as branches blocked both carriageways.
Mr Horsley said: “I’ve been a lorry driver all my life and I’ve seen some terrible accidents but this was something else. Every time I look at the pictures I can’t believe we weren’t hurt.
“It was only a couple of weeks ago on the news about a man sat at traffic lights in his van, a tree fell on him and that was it. He wouldn’t have even known what happened.
“That just makes me realise how lucky we are.”