TWO people have been hospitalised after an articulated lorry hit the railway bridge at Merlins Bridge, overturned and crushed a car.

The lorry, believed to be carrying a digger and a dumper truck, had been travelling down Dredgeman Hill before hitting the bridge shortly after 12.30pm today (Tuesday).

After hitting the bridge, the lorry toppled over, crushing a Fiat Punto car travelling the opposite way.

Emergency services, including firefighters from Haverfordwest and Milford Haven, arrived at the crash scene at 12.39pm, releasing the trapped woman using cutting equipment.

The two casualties were taken to hospital by ambulance, with the firefighters making the crash scene safe, before leaving at 1.40pm.

One of the first on the scene was Karen Sewell, of Acorn Drive, Johnston, who was driving home behind the Fiat with members of her family when the crash happened.

“It was quite horrific to be honest, I was directly behind the car; the traffic lights changed and there was a hell of a bang; the lorry hit the bridge and it toppled over.”

Karen, in the car with her daughter and grandchildren after a doctor’s appointment, was soon comforting the driver of the Fiat.

“I didn’t know her, only that her name was Michelle, I helped her ring her mum; she’d only just come from hospital, having physiotherapy, I stayed with her until the paramedics go there.

“She was complaining of back pain and was trapped, when I left there the firemen were cutting her out.

“My first thought was to get the driver of the lorry out; there was diesel and it was smoking and I wanted to get the driver out of the lorry.

"I was smashing the window but I couldn’t do it, some of the lads from One Stop [property development company] came and got him out.

“The driver said he was fine, my concern was to get him out with all that smoke.

“All kept thinking was that could’ve been us; that was all that kept going through my mind.”

Nathan Thomas, of One Stop Property Developments was soon on scene with colleague Liam O’Sullivan.

Nathan said: “We were on the junction of the Old Hakin Road, we couldn’t work out what it was, we were edging forward and I said to my colleague: ‘Someone’s hit the bridge’ then we could see the smash.

“My colleague went up and saw the lady, she was only inches away from the arms of the digger; the woman is so, so lucky; or unlucky depending how you look at it.

“We just got the guy out of the lorry, we smashed the glass; we couldn’t do anything about the woman.

“The lorry was smoking, we were frightened it was going to go up; the screen had cracked a little bit so we managed to get behind it with two other people and pull and shake it out.

“The driver was in a bit of shock; I’ve been in a bit of an accident myself, he looked like I felt then, in a bit of a daze.

“We did our bit anyway; everyone survived and that’s the main thing.”

Martin Phillips, who was visiting a plumbing shop nearby said: “I heard a loud bang, and thought a radiator had fallen.

"But I soon realised that it was far too loud to be that, and those working in the shop knew straight away that it was something hitting the railway bridge because it’s happened before.

“I rushed outside and saw the overturned lorry under the bridge and realised it had fallen onto a car.”

A spokesman for Network Rail confirmed a 5mph restriction has been placed on trains using the railway bridge: “Dyfed Powys Police informed Network Rail of the collision at 12.45pm and Network Rail were on site at 1.25 pm.

“A 5mph speed restriction was put on the Milford Haven to Whitland line and a Network Rail bridge inspector is due to examine the bridge at approx. 3.00pm this afternoon.

“The 5mph speed restriction will remain in place until the bridge inspection is complete and a decision on the condition of the bridge is made.”  

A Welsh ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at just before 12.45pm today to reports of a road traffic collision in the Merlins Bridge area. We responded with a rapid response vehicle and two emergency ambulances. Two casualties, one a female, have been conveyed to Withybush Hospital with unknown injuries but they are not thought to be life-threatening.”

A police spokeswoman said: “At approx. 12.38pm police received a report of a two vehicle RTC on the A4076 Haverfordwest to Johnston road. A DAF artic lorry and a Fiat car were involved in the collision, and the lorry had also collided with a railway bridge. Ambulance service were at scene, and have conveyed one casualty to hospital."

The road has since re-opened.

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