Fife couple’s lucky escape after car hits black ice

CUPAR;'Dwayne Rowe and Gillian Dickson, young couple involved in car crash on ice near St Michaels.'photo; WALTER NEILSON

CUPAR;'Dwayne Rowe and Gillian Dickson, young couple involved in car crash on ice near St Michaels.'photo; WALTER NEILSON

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A YOUNG north east Fife couple have told how they cheated death when their car hit black ice and careered off the road.

Gillian Dickson and Dwayne Rowe, both 20, had to be pulled from the overturned MG after it plunged eight feet down a banking near St Michaels.

The accident was the first of two in barely an hour on that stretch of the A914 last Wednesday night – and the couple have blamed a lack of gritting on the road for what happened.

Dwayne, who was in the passenger seat, described the sequence of events that left the pair feeling “lucky to be alive”.

He said: “We were going back to my house in Balmullo from St Michaels and had just passed under the railway bridge.

“The first corner there goes round to the right — we hit ice and just lost it.”

Although Gillian managed to correct the car, she immediately hit another patch of ice and was unable to keep the MG ZR hatchback on the road.

Dwayne went on: “The car went between two big trees and then fell at least eight feet down a banking.

“It was on its side and neither of us could get out.

“But people in a nearby house who heard the crash came and helped pull us out.

“We’re lucky to be alive — everyone at the scene said that.”

Incredibly, neither Dwayne nor Gillian was badly hurt, although both were feeling aches and pains in the days that followed the accident, while Dwayne suffered a scrape to the forehead.

Gillian, from Cupar, couldn’t believe the couple’s luck — and she insisted she was driving carefully when her car hit the ice.

She said: “We were just coming out of the 40mph limit, but I would have been doing less than 30mph at the time.

“If we had hit either of the trees we might have been killed.

“The man who came to recover the car sees accidents like that every day and he said we were lucky.”

Gillian and Dwayne said the accident might not have happened had the road been gritted, and their narrow escape was quickly followed by another incident on the same icy stretch of the A914 when a second car ended up in a ditch near St Michaels. The driver was uninjured.

Police records show Fife Council was made aware of the condition of the road 20 minutes after the first accident, but a gritter did not appear until an hour and a half later at 10.15pm, after officers at the scene of the second accident had again reported the surface to be hazardous.

Sara Wilson, Fife Council’s acting lead officer for transportation services, said that all Fife’s main roads were gritted mid-morning last Wednesday, with the forecast for the afternoon predicting temperatures above freezing.

She said: “We have a policy where we will send out gritters if we are contacted by the police about a particular stretch of road.

“We would expect a response time of around half an hour between being contacted and the gritter actually getting out on the road — this takes into account the time it may take the driver to get to the depot and loading time for the vehicle.

“On this particular occasion the road supervisor was already dealing with a call-out when the second call came through regarding the Balmullo to St Michaels road.”