A TAXI driver has told how he fought to save the life of a pensioner who stopped breathing after his car collided with a bus.
The accident in Falmouth left the driver in a critical condition and a busy road closed for five hours.
The first person on the scene, taxi driver Richard Sloggett, was travelling up Killigrew Street just after 11.40am on Monday when he saw the aftermath of the collision between the silver Mitsubishi Colt and a First Group single-decker bus.
“I got to the driver’s door, he had his foot flat on the accelerator, the car was smoking,” said Mr Sloggett. “You could see he wasn’t breathing. His lips were blue, he was grey.
“His false teeth had gone down his throat. His wife helped me get them out.”
Mr Sloggett’s colleague spoke to the ambulance crew.
“They told us not to move him,” said Mr Sloggett. “I told them he wasn’t breathing, so they told me to take him out of the car.”
A fellow taxi driver helped Mr Sloggett take the pensioner out of the car, who his wife called David.
Police confirmed the driver of the Colt was a Falmouth man in his eighties.
Mr Sloggett said: “I started pumping his chest, it sounded like he was gasping for air, you could tell he was trying to breathe but he wasn’t responding to me squeezing his hand, as the ambulance crew told me to do. I could feel his ribs cracking and bending. They (paramedics) told me that was normal. It didn’t feel normal.
“It was the worst thing I have ever done. It was terrible.”
“The next thing I knew he was taken away in an ambulance.”
The pensioner was taken by ambulance to Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, where he was said to be in stable condition as the West Briton went to press. The street was closed for five hours while officers investigated into the incident.
A woman in her seventies, who was also in the car, was taken to hospital suffering from shock.
Police, fire and paramedics were on the scene shortly after the accident next to Lister Hill and Kimberley Place junction at 11:40am.
“It looks like as a result of the collision he lost consciousness and was treated by members of the public and ambulance crew at the scene,” said a police spokesman. “He remains in critical condition.”
Neighbour Sue Baldwin said: “I heard a loud bang. The car was at an angle and the bus was down the road in a bus stop. The front driver’s wheel was damaged and bent, and there was smoke coming from the engine.
“I went out to help the woman. They had just come back from shopping in the town.”
Mrs Baldwin said of the road layout, which was changed six years ago: “This road is lethal.
“They widened the pavement after Matthew Gilbert was killed and it has caused a number of accidents because it pushes cars out into the centre of the road. In my opinion it contributed to the accident.”
Seventeen-year-old moped-rider Matthew Gilbert, known as Nabs, died in November 2008 at the same spot.
Anyone with any information about Monday’s accident is asked to call 101.