Rubbish driver crashes through wall of Highgate bungalow
PUBLISHED: 11:05 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010
By Tan Parsons A HIGHGATE woman had the shock of her life when a rubbish truck ploughed into the side of her home. Virginie Bauthier, 32, was at home in South Grove on Thursday morning last week when the terrifying accident took place. The driver of the l
By Tan Parsons
A HIGHGATE woman had the shock of her life when a rubbish truck ploughed into the side of her home.
Virginie Bauthier, 32, was at home in South Grove on Thursday morning last week when the terrifying accident took place.
The driver of the lorry misjudged a tight angle and smashed into her bungalow, demolishing one of the walls.
"I was just sitting down reading when there was a terrific noise - it sounded like the whole house was going to fall down," she said.
"Nothing came down on the inside, which was pretty surprising when you look at the damage on the outside."
The rubbish truck belonged to Camden Council's refuse subcontractors Veolia. The driver, who normally does the waste collections in neighbouring Bacon's Lane, was off work and his stand-in driver apparently misjudged the exit as she pulled out of the private lane onto South Grove, clipping the side of the home.
Like Ms Bauthier the driver was also from France, and they spoke to each other in their native language after the smash.
"It was quite a shock for both of us so we both started speaking in French," said Ms Bauthier.
With the wall at the front of the house left leaning perilously, she is worried the structural damage will threaten the whole building.
"I hope it doesn't fall down now," she said. "It's not great but it was just an accident and these things happen.
"The driver was really sorry and I think she was as shocked and scared as I was. The team were extremely good - they didn't flee the scene and they were very kind."
Ironically, the company that owns the bungalow, Bright Label Ltd, recently received planning permission to demolish it and build a new house in its place.
A Bacon's Lane resident, who asked not to be named, said: "When I came out there were bricks lying all across the pavement in South Grove. It was hours before the council came to clear it all up.
"Ours is just a little slip of a road - it's not clear to people who aren't familiar with the area that there is even a road here at all and they let their children run ahead because they don't realise cars could come out.
"So it was a bit worrying when there was rubble lying all over the pavement, because it meant pedestrians had to walk out into the middle of the road."
A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: "We are investigating the incident and are in discussions with Veolia. We have been to visit the lady who was affected to make sure she is all right, and we understand the property is fully insured."