Tanker driver 'was a hero' says eye witness who said he took evasive action to avoid car park full of people in Beauly
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AN eyewitness to yesterday's tanker crash in Beauly said the driver was "a hero".
Artur Pawlow, who lives in Invergordon, was waiting to have lunch with a friend in the village yesterday when he saw the incident unfold.
At around 11.45am a Johnston Oils delivery tanker crashed into the former Co-op store in Beauly's High Street.
Mr Pawlow said he saw the tanker career along the road, hitting a larger lorry and a number of cars before crashing into the building.
He said: "There were lots of people about and I think the driver's brakes must have failed on the tanker because there was a strange sound.
"He was heading directly towards a very busy car park.
"He hit the larger lorry and then cars on the street before it looked as though he took evasive action and went into the only empty shop in the street.
"He avoided going into the busy supermarket car park. He saved people's lives, because if he had gone into the car park it would be a very dark and sad day today.
"This man, the driver, he was a hero."
Mr Pawlow said he ran to help in the aftermath, along with around nine or 10 other people.
He said: "It was very scary and people were crying and confused.
"I got to the cab, and I think there was only one driver. I think the other driver was the other lorry that the tanker crashed into.
"He was worried about the driver of the tanker as well, and came to help."
He continued: "There was a smell and that is when we all became scared that the tanker would explode, but at the same time we just wanted to save the man."
Mr Pawlow said it was "a miracle" that more people were not injured, with the town very busy at the time of the incident.
He and others stood down from trying to help as police and fire crews arrived to take over.
"We all did what anyone would do. I am not a hero but the driver is, he saved so many lives yesterday.
"I really hope that he recovers from his injuries."
Police and the fire service removed the vehicle from the building at around 7pm last night and the road was reopened at 7.40pm.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 12.45pm on Thursday, September 16 we received a report of a crash on High Street in Beauly involving a lorry which has struck a car and a building.
“The male driver of the lorry was taken to hospital for treatment and the road reopened around 7.40pm.”