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How's this for a driving lesson? Tree collapses on learner's car

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THIS is the dramatic way a learner driver's third ever lesson ended in Purley on Monday.

The instructor and her student remarkably escaped serious injury after a 40ft tree landed on top of their car.

The pair were driving up Riddlesdown Road at about 3pm when they stopped to let a car past them.

As they started off again, they heard what they thought was a crack of thunder before the roof above them suddenly smashed in.

Tony Steer was outside his house when he heard the towering beech tree give way.

He told the Advertiser: "I ran out onto the road and saw the car smashed in by the tree. There were two people inside so I rushed over and pulled them free.

"They had opened the doors but needed a hand getting out.

"Neither were hurt but they were very badly shaken.

"My wife is the real hero – she took them inside and made them a cup of tea."

The branch hit the driver's side of the car and smashed the windscreen, although the instructor was unharmed.

Joyce Bennett, who runs Kenley School of Motoring, said she had rushed down to the scene as soon as she heard about the incident.

"I am so glad they are both OK, that's obviously our priority," she said. "The instructor walked the girl home. Poor thing, it was only her third driving lesson.

"It is incredibly dangerous; just imagine if it had been half an hour later when all the schoolchildren walk back home."

Mr Steer said: "Cars drive so fast down this road – if they hadn't had to stop to let the car coming towards them past, they would never have been hit by the tree."

Police arrived at the scene shortly after 3pm to block off the road but are not investigating the matter any further.

Tree surgeons working for Croydon Council were called soon after the crash to clear the road. They cut up the fallen branch with chainsaws and a woodchipper.

The tree, which is thought to be more than 100 years old, straddled two properties and was rotten on the inside.

On public land, the council is responsible for making sure trees are safe. However, on private land, it becomes a civil matter.

How's this for a driving lesson? Tree collapses on learner's car


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