Clevedon house crash: Woman dies as van hits building

Van crashed into house Image copyright SWNS
Image caption The van caused "significant damage" when it hit the house in Yeolands Drive

A 90-year-old woman was killed when a van crashed into a house near Bristol while she was inside.

The white Ford Transit van caused "substantial damage" when it hit the property in Yeolands Drive, Clevedon, at 20:27 BST on Wednesday.

Neighbours who were initially evacuated amid fears a gas pipe had been damaged have now returned to their homes.

A 34-year-old woman and 33-year-old man remain in police custody on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Avon and Somerset Police said the woman's family had been informed.

Image copyright Paul Tree
Image caption Emergency services were called to the scene in Clevedon

Insp Frazer Davey said CCTV showed the van - which has the number plate WR65 LNC - had left the Crab Apple Inn in Southern Way "moments before colliding with the house".

He said someone was seen outside the pub talking to the people inside the van at about 20:25 BST and urged that person to come forward "as soon as possible".

Insp Davey added they also wanted to speak to anyone who may have seen the "quite distinctive" van which was "white with a black bonnet and two white stripes" with ladders on the roof.

Image caption Homes were evacuated after fears a gas pipe had been damaged in the crash

Neighbour Paul Tree said he had been sitting at home with his wife at about 20:30 when a "whole convoy of emergency vehicles went racing past".

He said: "I went down to have a look and saw a van had gone through the front of the house - literally - and they were bringing out someone - I wasn't too sure who it was.

"The road was cordoned off. Obviously people in the community are shocked."

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the van had crashed "straight through" the wall and into the woman's lounge.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Police said the van was seen leaving the Crab Apple Inn "moments before colliding with the house"

Neighbour Julie Elson told BBC Radio Bristol that the victim was a "lovely lady".

"It's just so sad. She always asked how you were, it's what neighbours are for really. It's just a shock to the community round here," she said.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said its specialist urban search and rescue team had to be called in because of the damage caused to the house.

The crews, who are trained in shoring and propping techniques, stayed at the scene until 01:30 BST to make sure the building was structurally safe.

A spokesman said: "No-one was trapped within the vehicle but one person was in the house at the time of the incident and sadly she died."

Image caption The car hit the house in Yeolands Drive on Wednesday evening

Avon and Somerset Police thanked residents who were asked to leave for their co-operation and support.

"A gas pipe was damaged in the collision and we had to make sure it was made safe before allowing people back in their homes," Insp Davey said.

"Being asked to leave your home late at night is clearly disruptive and I greatly appreciate their patience and understanding."

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