Bin lorry driver ‘did all he could’ to avoid damage

The driver suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his bin lorry. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The driver suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his bin lorry. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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TRIBUTES have been paid to an Edinburgh bin lorry driver who suffered a suspected heart attack at the wheel and swerved into crash barriers – as it emerged he is still in a “serious” condition.

It is believed the city council-employed worker fell ill just before his vehicle collided with a central reservation barrier on the A720 Edinburgh bypass, near Lothianburn junction, on Boxing Day.

He did all he could to stop the vehicle without causing damage to other road users and the guys who were in the vehicle with him.

Friend of driver

Friends of the individual said he did everything possible to ensure the lorry came to a halt without causing harm to other road users and his colleagues.

A friend of the driver said: “The guy in question is a lovely guy – he is still serious in hospital. He did all he could to stop the vehicle without causing damage to other road users and the guys who were in the vehicle with him. Fingers crossed for you.”

Council staff praised the driver as a “permanent and experienced” member of staff who has been employed by the local authority for 20 years.

No-one was injured during the crash and the worker, believed to be in his 50s, was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after receiving first aid from paramedics at the scene. Police officers have confirmed that the driver’s condition is “still serious” and said their probe into the incident was ongoing.

It has also emerged two co-workers who were in the vehicle at the time have been offered counselling.

Saturday’s crash came just days after a memorial service for the victims of the December 2014 bin lorry disaster in Glasgow’s George Square, when six Christmas shoppers were killed by a runaway vehicle.

The Right Reverend Gregor Duncan told mourners at Glasgow Cathedral that the tragedy was “a consequence of human folly and irresponsibility”.

Earlier this year, political figures in Edinburgh made calls for regular checks to ensure drivers are fit for work after reports that an agency worker fell asleep at the wheel.

It emerged that the bin lorry driver – hired by the council from the Adecco agency – dozed off twice during a shift in January, causing his vehicle to veer across Lanark Road. Transport managers terminated the driver’s contract as soon as reports were received from colleagues, but critics said the episode highlighted the need for action.

City council leaders have stressed that a range of strict tests are carried out regularly to ensure all lorry drivers are fully trained and qualified.

A spokeswoman said: “A council employee was involved in an accident on the city bypass after taking ill while driving a refuse vehicle and he is currently being treated at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.”

She added: “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and immediate colleagues at this time.”