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Driver ploughs into school children and lollipop lady during coughing fit

Nine injured as motorist hits accelerator by  mistake and loses control of vehicle

A car crash outside a primary school which left nine people injured, including five children and a lollipop woman, was caused by the driver having a coughing fit and hitting the accelerator pedal, it was claimed.

Councillor Jeffrey James said the 61-year-old driver of the Audi A3 convertible lost control and overturned outside Rhoose Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan. The accident happened at around 8.50am today, just as the children were arriving at school.

The councillor said: “The driver has apparently said he had a coughing fit and hit the accelerator instead of the brake and lurched, hitting the crossing attendant and the children waiting to cross or starting to cross. He must have swerved and then tipped over the car. It was on its roof.”

Four children with head and abdomen injuries and two adults with fractures were taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. A further two adults and another child, all with minor injuries, were taken to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

South Wales Police said the collision “was not believed to be a deliberate act”. The driver was among those injured and was helping police with their investigations, said the police spokesman.

In a chilling reminder of the severity of the accident, a lollipop stick was left on the ground where the Audi landed on its roof on the pavement, sandwiched between a green car and a line of trees. Other debris included pieces of clothing strewn across the pavement.

Café worker Glynis Watson described the area as a “war zone” and told the BBC that parents were taking their “traumatised children” home from the school. She said the daughter of one of her customers was crossing further down Fontygary Road when they saw the collision happen.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said the incident was “declared a major incident due to the number of casualties involved and their injuries”.