UK & World News

  • 3 January 2013, 22:03

British Couple Crushed By Car In Bruges

Two British tourists have suffered terrible injuries to their legs after being struck by a car as they crossed a road in Belgium.

Simon Huxtable, 44, and Deborah Dale, 34, were strolling through the picturesque city of Bruges when they were hit by a drink-driver, police have said.

Doctors treating the holidaymakers could be forced to amputate their legs following the crash, which led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Belgian man.

The couple, from Witney, Oxfordshire, were walking across the top of a junction when they were hit by a Mercedes at 10.30am local time on New Year's Day.

The driver, who had been at a New Year's Eve party in the city centre, failed to stop at the junction and ploughed straight into the pair, pinning them against the wall of a house.

Police believe he was travelling at more than the 30kph speed limit in that area.

Inspector Philippe Dankrey said: "He drove a bit too fast and, as he had been drinking, he had too much alcohol in his blood.

"Then he hit the couple. They were squashed between the car and the front of the house. Neighbours heard the victims' screaming and came out of their houses to help."

He said Ms Dale suffered particularly bad injuries to both her legs.

"There is a possibility that they may both have to have either one or even both legs amputated," he added.

The couple, who were staying at a local hotel, are being treated at St Jan's hospital in Bruges.

The 22-year-old, who was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and causing injuries to two people, was said to be in shock after the crash.

His driving licence was revoked for two weeks. He has been released from custody but will appear in court in the next couple of months.

Sister Emmanuelle, a Catholic nun who witnessed the crash scene, described finding "blood everywhere" and said she could "still hear" the couple's cries of agony.

"I heard a big bang and then I heard loud screaming," she told the Daily Mail. "There were two people lying on the ground screaming and waving their arms wildly. It was terrible.

"There was blood everywhere. The lady's legs were completely crushed."

She said the driver got out of his car and asked someone to call an ambulance as people came out of their houses to help.

She added: "Finally the injured people fell silent and stopped screaming. After what seemed like a long time the police and the ambulance arrived.

"I have not been able to sleep since. I can still hear them screaming."

A retired doctor, who lives next to the crash site, was said to have helped the couple while they waited for an ambulance.

Ms Dale's parents, Roger and Diana, are understood to have travelled to their daughter's hospital bedside.

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