A great-grandmother has been killed after a van smashed into her home in Somerset as she spoke to a family member on the phone.
Joan Woodier, 90, died when the white Ford Transit crashed into the property in Yeolands Drive in Clevedon shortly before 8.30pm last night.
Her son, Alan Woodier, confirmed that his mother was the victim of the horror crash, saying: ‘She didn’t deserve to die like that.’
A 34-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Julie Elson, 57, who has lived four doors down from the woman for 37 years, said: “The old lady was on the phone to her great granddaughter at the time and she heard the bang and came down the road in her nightie because she lives in the area. She was hysterical, screaming.
“She heard the whole thing over the phone the poor girl. The old lady would always speak to you – a true neighbour
“Everything was manic last night. My son has gone back to university but his car is normally parked outside – if it had been theres he might have survived – it might have stopped the van ramming in.
“Everybody is shocked – my eyes have been welling up this morning; I’m so sad. She was still very lively and hadn’t long given up driving.”
Residents of neighbouring properties were evacuated following the crash over fears that a gas pipe had been damaged.
Another neighbour Robert Cornock, 71, was one of the first to enter the property.
Robert, a painter and decorator, said: ‘I was cutting the grass in backgarden and heard a terrific bang. I ran across and saw a white Transit van embedded in the wall of the house.
‘Me and my neighbour went in – we called her name but couldn’t see her at all because she was buried underneath the rubble in the living room. She wouldn’t have known anything about it – it would have been so quick.
‘We could smell gas right away so we had to get out quickly. Unfortunately, the van was parked against the gas meter, trapping it, so it had to be removed before the switch could be turned off.’
Speaking at the scene of the incident, Inspector Frazer Davey said: ‘A vehicle, a Ford Transit van, has gone through the front of the house and sadly killed the 90-year-old female occupant inside.
‘We have informed the family of the lady who has died, and we have specially trained officers who are supporting her family as we speak.
‘This is a very sad collision that we are dealing with.’
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He also appealed for witnesses who may have seen the van leaving a nearby pub before the collision.
‘While we’re in the early stages of our investigation, we know the van involved, registration WR65 LNC, left the Crab Apple pub moments before colliding with the house’, he said.
‘We have already reviewed some CCTV from the local area and, as a result of this process, we have identified a witness who we’d like to talk to.’