Incident highlights dangers of cruise events

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An incident at a recent cruise event in Tilbury highlighted the dangers these events can pose to participants and spectators.

A ‘cruise’ is a meeting of modified car enthusiasts at a predetermined location, usually organised through the internet, mobile phone, word of mouth or simply by a cruise being sufficiently established that it becomes a regular event.

Matt Clarke, SERP’s communications officer, joined Essex Police officers to experience first hand an upscale cruise event.

Essex Police became aware of the cruise through information posted on Facebook which indicated it would begin in the Asda car park in Tilbury before moving on to Lakeside.

Many participants were exceeding the speed limit in their haste to get to Tilbury, and Essex Police clocked more than 50 drivers travelling at between 84-114mph in the 70mph limit on the A1089.

More than 500 modified vehicles assembled at the Asda car park, with the usual mix of well-behaved drivers tarnished by the actions of “a fair few idiots”.

After a couple of hours, the crowd began to disperse and head for Lakeside where they were met by between 300-400 spectators.

At around 23.40hrs, a modified Volkswagon Golf entered a roundabout far in excess of the speed limit, crashed into a lamppost before coming to rest in the middle of the road.

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Matt Clarke said: “By an amazing stroke of good fortune, the deflection off the lamppost diverted the VW away from the spectators, thereby avoiding a catastrophic incident which would almost certainly have resulted in death and/or serious injury.”

Fortunately both the driver and passenger, while shaken, were uninjured.

Police arrived on scene within 20 seconds of the collision, by which time there were in excess of 200 people crowded around the car, walking in the road, with many videoing the scene on their phone. It began to rain heavily but this didn’t deter more than 100 people who stayed until the vehicle was recovered from the roundabout.

Matt Clarke added: “We all agreed that it was amazing that we had not experienced a fatal collision.

“It would not be an overstatement to say that the lamppost deflecting the car off its path probably saved the lives of dozens of people.

“How the 19” wheel, which detached from the car and flew through the air, didn’t hit one of the hundreds of people standing on the roundabout, we will never know!“

In addition to the speeding offences, Essex Police picked up two offences of careless driving, two incidences of no insurance, four drivers using a mobile phone and four seatbelt offences.

Matt Hine, from Essex Police, concluded: “Our recent enforcement activity at Lakeside is having a positive effect, but we cannot stop everyone from driving like an idiot.

“This incident reinforces the need for us to be there week in week out to make these people realise that we will take positive action if they are driving inappropriately.”

28 September 2015

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