Climping mum’s terror after collision with bus leaves wheelchair stranded in road

Tracey Taylor with her assistance dog. Picture contributed SUS-181210-132923001
Tracey Taylor with her assistance dog. Picture contributed SUS-181210-132923001

A disabled woman has spoken of the terrifying moment she was left stranded in the middle of a road in her wheelchair after a collision with a bus.

Tracey Taylor, 37, had just exited the 700 bus at Horsemere Green lane, Climping, on Tuesday (October 9) at around 3.55pm, when her wheelchair ‘suddenly’ turned 90 degrees to face the road, due to an ‘uneven’ grass verge.

Grass verge at Horsemere Green lane. Picture contributed SUS-181210-142117001

Grass verge at Horsemere Green lane. Picture contributed SUS-181210-142117001

Tracey, who lives in Wooldridge Walk, said: “I had both palms against the side of the bus, my left foot was now in the road in front of the rear wheel.

“I was now left by the side of the road, half on the verge, half in the road, with my footplates stopping me from falling, or being able to move my wheelchair forward, because of the angle.”

Tracey, who has one daughter, said she didn’t believe the bus driver saw her before then pulling away.

She said the bus was in a collision with her wheelchair, leaving her foot with bruising and swelling.

Stagecoach said CCTV footage showed that the ‘unfortunate’ incident happened after the driver had assisted the customer into a place of safety.

A Stagecoach spokesman added: “We were very concerned to hear of this and immediately looked into the circumstances, which included viewing the CCTV footage of the incident.

“The CCTV shows that our driver assisted the customer into a place of safety away from the bus.

“He then returned to the driver’s cab and departed believing that she was in a safe place and was not aware of the incident which occurred after that.”

Stagecoach added that the customer’s wheelchair had moved and became ‘unbalanced before the bus pulled away’.

Tracey, who went to hospital following the incident, was left terrified when two cars then ‘had to swerve around me’.

She added: “I forced my wheelchair forward with full power and was then in the road with my assistance dog.

“It was just ridiculous.

“It was terrifying and it keeps me up at night. These things are always worse to think about at night.

“I am OK generally but it has left me with anxiety and I don’t want to get on a bus again.

“It took some courage and confidence to get in a bus with a wheelchair. It was only the second or third time.”

Stagecoach offered an apology and sent its ‘best wishes’ to Tracey for ‘any injury or upset’ caused.

However, the spokesman stressed the company ‘believe our driver acted with the best interests and safety of the customer in mind’.

Police confirmed the ‘collision’ between a bus and wheelchair in Yapton Road.

A police spokesman said: “Officers have engaged with the victim and enquiries are ongoing.

“Anyone who saw what happened is asked to report it online or call 101, quoting serial 137 of 10/10.”

In a Facebook post, Tracey also appealed to anyone who saw her on the bus or in the road, to get in touch.