North Circular lorry driver describes horrifying moment he saw a woman jump from a bridge onto the carriageway

A lorry driver has described the devastating moment he saw a woman fall from a bridge and onto the North Circular carriageway in front of him. For the last 27 years Simon Smith, from Plymouth, has been driving lorries delivering goods up and down the country. On Tuesday, June 19, the day began like any other as he finished a job in Hounslow[1] by 9.30am.

The 44-year-old then began driving his 18-tonne lorry to his next job in Erith. Instead of taking the M25, Simon decided to drive along the A406 North Circular,[2] which he said proved to be ‘the biggest mistake’.

“I thought she was dead”

Speaking to Essex Live,[3] Simon said: “I was in the right lane, I had two cars in front of me and a lorry to my left, I looked down to adjust the stereo and when I looked up I saw her jump off the bridge., which must have been about 35 feet heigh. “Everyone came to a screeching halt.

For about 20 to 30 seconds nobody got out of their cars. I was about 20 feet away from where she actually fell. “In a Range Rover in front there was two ladies, they were absolutely hysterical because the woman fell right in front of their car.

“The guy in the car directly in front of me got out and was on the phone to the emergency services, but nobody went down to the lady. “I lept out of my truck, I left the ignition running and put my hazard lights on and rushed down to where she was laying. “I thought she was dead.

It’s something that is going to stay in my mind for a very long time, it was horrendous. “She was unconscious at first but then she came around, but she wasn’t making any sense at all.

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“I kept telling her ‘you’re ok, help is on its way, stay with me, stay with me’. “I asked if she could move her legs and she could, and wiggle her fingers and she did, so I thought that was a good sign, but you just don’t know what internal damage has been done.”

Simon stayed with the woman, holding her hand and talking to her until the paramedics arrived and took over. He said he suffers from anxiety and occasional panic attacks but he explained it wasn’t until he stepped back from the situation that the adrenaline started to kick in. Simon returned to his lorry while a group of several paramedics surrounded the woman.

He said: “I sat on the step of my lorry and rang my boss and told him what had happened. “When she had been put in the back of the ambulance the police told me that she was in so much debt that she wanted to take her own life.” Police shut the North Circular heading eastbound at Chingford Road[4] after the incident at around 10am (June 19).

The Crooked Billet Underpass was closed and traffic queued from the Fore Street Tunnel, back to Waterworks Corner on the other side.

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“I was shaking”

Simon recalls it being around an hour and a half before the road was reopened. He said: “I was a bit distraught, it was a horrible thing to see. I don’t want to see it ever again.

“I was shaking when I stepped back and was by my lorry. I was just praying for her.” After the hour and a half ordeal Simon carried on with his delivery to Erith.

He said: “I didn’t have enough time that night to get back to base in Plymouth so I stopped off in a layby. “I must admit I did have trouble sleeping that night, because all I could see was her face. ”

“Every time I go under a bridge now the anxieties kick in”

A week on from the incident Simon is still affected by the events that unfolded on that Tuesday morning. “Every time I go under a bridge now the anxieties kick in, I think is anyone else going to jump out in front of me, and if I had to drive under that exact bridge again it would send a shiver down my spine,” he said.

Simon is urging anyone with mental health problems to seek help. He said: “It’s good to talk about how you feel, I am just hoping and praying she is ok. “A lot of people are in debt, I don’t think it is worth taking your life over, but you just don’t know what goes on in peoples minds.”

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References

  1. ^ Hounslow (www.mylondon.news)
  2. ^ A406 North Circular, (www.mylondon.news)
  3. ^ Essex Live, (www.essexlive.news)
  4. ^ Chingford Road (www.mylondon.news)
  5. MyLondon flash briefing (www.amazon.co.uk)
  6. ^ read this article (www.mylondon.news)

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