A dog walker who was just inches from being hit by an out-of-control Birmingham bin lorry has spoken of the moment she saw the truck bearing down on her.
Sally Brierley was minding her own business walking her two dogs along Jockey Road in Sutton Coldfield on Wednesday, September 15, shortly before 8am, when she saw a driverless runaway bin lorry hurtling towards her.
The 53-year-old probation officer paused for a second before reacting just in time as the 26-tonne sped past her and smashed through a wall where she had been standing a second earlier.
The hair-raising moment was recorded on dashcam by Victoria Williams, one of two drivers who also narrowly avoided a collision.
Sally told BirminghamLive: “I was just waiting to cross Britwell Road and looked up and saw this bin lorry coming toward me. And at first I thought why isn’t it stopping, surely it can see me.
“I knew something amiss had happened. I could see the blue car do this strange, unexpected manoeuvre and then saw the bin lorry.
“I thought ‘I am sure it is going to stop’. I then yanked the dogs out of the way. I just acted on instinct.”
Sally said her two dogs Lola, a King Charles Cavalier spaniel, aged nine, and Gigi a white Cavapoo aged two, were ‘completely unfazed’ by the incident.
She said she would normally take them to Sutton Park and let them off the lead ‘but for some reason on Wednesday I thought I would do a quick route before work.
It nearly proved a fateful decision.
But she said she has had time to reflect after the accident and has watched the shocking dashcam footage, which revealed how close she was to being hit by the truck.
The mum-of-two said: “It was a bit sobering to watch the video. I have since thought if it had been someone old or more infirm, they would have been crushed.
“We stood around afterwards with a couple of the drivers involved to check on each other that we were all OK. I then carried on along Jockey Road and walked home.
“Walking home all I could think is how precarious life is and how close we all are between life and death.
“My husband and younger daughter happened to be at home when I got back.
“When they saw the footage later in the day that really did bring it home how close it was and how different the day could have turned out.”
Sally, replaying the frightening incident in her mind, said she had never seen a bin lorry where the driver was not in the cab before.
She said: “The driver got out of the cab to collect some rubbish. Obviously, they had to be doing that as well.
“I can’t at first get my head around that. Whenever I see the bin lorry there’s a person driving and everybody at the back putting the bins in.
“Weirdly I always wondered how they decide who was the driver and who collects the rubbish. Do they take it in turns?
“I was thinking about it afterwards. How did that happen? That’s for the council to ascertain. Was it human error or mechanical error?”
Sally was due to head to the office on Wednesday morning but stayed at home to speak to the deputy manager at the refuse depot.
She said they checked she was OK and took a statement but did not need a formal statement as they had seen the dashcam footage. She said: “They were very concerned that I was OK.”
Sally said she did not blame anyone for what happened. She said: “In fact it’s been the reverse. I don’t feel angry. If it transpired it is human error that’s dreadful for the person involved.
“No-one would intend to do that. I would feel terrible for the person involved.
“If it’s mechanical error, the council maintains its vehicles.”
A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said: “The cause of incident is being investigated and thankfully no-one was hurt.”
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