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Fuelish driver - woman loses control of car at petrol station


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Fuelish driver - woman loses control of car at petrol station


Last updated at 22:00pm on 2nd November 2006

carcctv021106_228x445.jpgPictures from the CCTV footage





Elderly Suzanne Cordeau was feeling a little fuelish after she lost control of her car at a petrol station and destroyed a diesel pump before rolling 360 degrees.

See the video footage here


Mrs Cordeau, 82, was attempting to manoeuvre her Toyota Starlet closer to a pump when she accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The car swerved across the forecourt, careered into a diesel pump - knocking it clean off its foundations - and flipped into the air before coming to rest on its side.

Twelve firefighters rushed to the scene and miraculously pulled her from the wreckage with only minor bruising to her leg.

A red-faced Mrs Cordeau, who was born in France but moved to Britain during World War Two, re-lived the horrifying ordeal.

"This is all very embarrassing," she said. "I'm very shaken and most upset. I have driven all my life and I've never had an accident before."

"It's all a bit of a blur. I put my foot down on what I thought was the brake, and suddenly the car raced forward."

"I thought I saw a girl in front me and when the car came to rest I was terrified I'd hit someone."

"I didn't have my seat belt on as I manoeuvred and I was thrown into the passenger seat of the car. I'm just glad nobody was hurt."

The accident happened as Mrs Cordeau was heading to the doctors and pulled up at the Texaco garage near Tewkesbury, Glos., at 10.30am on Sunday morning.

After popping in to pick up a sandwich and newspaper a cashier followed her out to help her fill up.

She manoeuvred her blue Toyota nearer a pump but the cashier - who was guiding her into position - did not realise the filler cap was on the opposite side of the vehicle.

As Mrs Cordeau gesticulated to the cashier to try and explain, she accidentally stamped her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake.

The automatic car shot forward, swerved across the forecourt and careered up a four inch concrete plinth on which the diesel pump was standing.

After knocking over the pump, the car tumbled onto its side, onto its roof and then back up onto the opposite side - almost completing a full 360-degree roll.

Lucky the station manager Lloyd Ward, 46, hit the emergency fuel cut-off switch before any fuel escaped and called emergency services.

He said: "I couldn't believe it. She'd shot forward, crashed up the plinth and smashed the pump over."

"I'm amazed nobody was hurt. Thankfully the pumps are designed not to spill in these situations but this one was completely shattered."

"The cashier had gone out to give her a hand filling up. She hadn't parked close enough to the pump and seemed to getting a bit frustrated with herself."

"Suddenly the car raced across the forecourt, hit the pump and she almost did a complete barrel roll."

"The fire crews were here in minutes and were able to pull her out. It took an hour to clean up before we could reopen but the repairs could take weeks."

"The fuel line to the tank is shattered and its going to cost thousands to repair. It's bad news for her insurance company."

"You wouldn't believe it unless you saw the CCTV video."

When fire crews arrived with cutting equipment Mrs Cordeau insisted they did not cut her car open to free her - and she was rescued through the sunroof instead.

Station manager Lloyd said: "The funniest thing was as the ambulance took her away for a check up all she was worried about was her paper and her sandwich."

Mrs Cordeau, whose ex-RAF husband died of cancer several years ago and now lives alone in Beckford near Tewkesbury, has children and grandchildren living in Cannes, Northampton, and Ireland.

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Fire Service said: "It could have been a very different story. We sent two pumps and a special chemical unit who were able to free her and make the area safe."

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