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Watch as man believed to be HGV driver tried to put out fire after lorry crashes from Coleman’s Bridge onto A12 …

A HGV has crashed off a bridge and landed on the A12[1], bursting into flames. The road was shut both ways between junction 19 at Boreham and junction 25 at Marks Tey after the serious crash off the Coleman’s Bridge at Witham. The northbound road has now reopened.

Police say the road will remain closed southbound between Boreham and Marks Yey overnight, and will not open for tomorrow’s rush hour. The bridge is closed. A video has now emerged of what is believed to be the lorry driver holding a fire extinguisher in the road as the fire burns in the lorry’s cab.

The clip was taken by Big Cars Ltd in Witham[2] and has been viewed more than 48,000 times on Facebook. Five fire crews rushed to the scene to put out the fire at around 3.40pm. The air ambulance was also dispatched.

The Gazette has contacted the ambulance service for a comment. Essex Police[3] have asked that drivers avoid the area and there are long delays in both directions. The police is now appealing for any witnesses or drivers with dashcam footage to contact them on 101.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Picture by Joanne Taylor

A motorist caught up in queue about half a mile south of the incident said: “When we saw the smoke, it was like an explosion. “It was really thick, black smoke. “The message coming back to us is people couldn’t believe their eyes.

“The lorry was hanging off the bridge and then it just fell onto the southbound carriageway. “It was only by good grace there were no vehicles coming underneath it.” She added: “All the metal supports on the bridge were knocked off so I would say the police are worried about the structure of the bridge now.”

She reported traffic at Marks Tey was being directed onto the A120[4]. A spokesman for the fire service said: “Crews are at the scene of a road traffic collision involving a lorry on the A12 Southbound at Witham. “Essex Police and the ambulance service are also on scene.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We received a call today at 3.49pm to reports of a serious RTC on the A12 between Witham and Kelvedon. “We dispatched an ambulance crew which was on scene in six minutes and was very quickly followed by an ambulance officer, rapid response vehicle, air ambulance from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, and the hazardous area response team. “Crews are still on scene working with emergency service colleagues.”

Colchester councillors Lesley and Jessica Scott-Boutell were on the A12 travelling from Colchester to Chelmsford when the accident happened. The mother and daughter from Stanway[5] said: “We were stopped in the queue of traffic but there was no indication at first what had happened.

“Jess saw the smoke and the air ambulance flying in. We realised it was something quite major.

“We realised something had come off the bridge on to the A12. “It is absolutely terrible and we are so sorry for all those involved. “We are shaken.

You feel so helpless.” Joe McCallum, from Essex, said part of the lorry container was on fire. Photos shared on Twitter showed a large cloud of dark grey smoke billowing from the scene of the crash.

Another appeared to show a vehicle having fallen on to the carriageway below. The 28-year-old van driver said he believed it was a lorry carrying frozen goods, but that he could not see anything more due to its “mangled” state. He said he could not see anybody in the cab following the accident, which he said happened at around 3.45pm.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Picture: Joe MacCullum/Twitter

Chloe Willis, 20, was in a car travelling to a hockey match with friends and was “about five seconds away” from the accident. The psychology student told the Press Association “black smoke covered the sky” as the lorry caught fire. She said: “We had to come to an emergency stop as soon as we saw this lorry turned on its side.

“A big puff of black smoke covered the sky and all the people in cars started to panic.

“You could see where the barriers on the bridge had broken when the lorry had come through.”

Ms Willis said the emergency service response was “pretty instant” with numerous fire engines and police vehicles arriving swiftly.


  1. ^ A12 (www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk)
  2. ^ Big Cars Ltd in Witham (business.facebook.com)
  3. ^ Essex Police (www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk)
  4. ^ A120 (www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk)
  5. ^ Stanway (www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk)

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