Dromore woman caught up in tragic bin lorry crash drama

Angela McDowell with her daughter Donna at George Square
Angela McDowell with her daughter Donna at George Square

A Dromore woman was just minutes away from being caught up in the tragic Glasgow bin lorry crash, that killed six and injured eight people before Christmas.

Angela McDowell, of Ballymacormick Road, who had been over on a weekend trip to visit her daughter Donna, with husband John, had been walking up the same street with Christmas shoppers near George Square just minutes before the accident.

She had just been in the Millennium Hotel for a coffee when the crash occurred.

The bin lorry crashed into the side of the hotel, which then had to be evacuated.

Police are still carrying out a detailed investigation into what caused the bin lorry to career along the crowded pavement, into Christmas shoppers close to the annual winter carnival.

“I had been over visiting my daughter and I wanted to see the Millennium Hotel where we have booked to stay in the summer for the World Pipe Band Championships,” said Angela.

“I had never been in the hotel before and I just wanted to see what the hotel was like so while I was in Glasgow decided to go in for a coffee.”

She heard the crash and the commotion and it was not long before the hotel was evacuated.

“I did not know at that stage just how serious the accident was,” said Angela.

“I knew there was something wrong but really had no idea what was wrong.

“It all happened so quickly there was no screaming or anything like that. I had seen the bin lorry and just thought that it had rolled down the hill. I did not realise the seriousness of the accident.”

Later in the afternoon, Angela, a regular visitor to the city, left and got to the airport to catch her plane home. It was then that she soon discovered the seriousness of the accident.

“I was really sad when I realised what had happened,” she said. “I was badly shaken all day Tuesday to think could have happened.

“I could not believe that I was on that same street just 20 minutes before. We had been watching the fun fair in George Square and had just crossed over to get to the hotel.

“If I had been just a little later we would have been caught up in the accident. The whole thing upset me it really did. It does not even bear thinking about.”

It is still not yet known how the accident happened but it is widely believed that the bin lorry crashed after the driver suffered a heart attack at the wheel which travelled for 300 metres, before it crashed.

Among the dead were Jack Sweeney, his wife Lorraine, their granddaughter Erin McQuade, primary teacher Stephenie Tait, Jacqueline Morton and Gillian Ewing.