Bookcase worker hit by van

Monday, February 17, 2003

A horrific accident took place in Hebden Bridge late Saturday afternoon. A well known and well liked Hebden Bridge woman, Valerie Cullinan was very seriously injured when a van mounted the pavement on Market Street and hit her. She is in St James' Hospital Leeds and today is said to be in a very serious condition but stable.

Below is the report from today's Courier.

A VAN ploughed into two work colleagues as they waited for a taxi - pinning one of them under the vehicle.

Neighbours Valerie Cullinan and Simon Manfield, of Fearnley Cottages, Charlestown, Hebden Bridge, were both injured in the horrific accident at 5.15 pm on Saturday.

Mrs Cullinan suffered serious head and leg injuries. She was described as very poorly but stable today.

The pair had just finished work at The Bookcase, Market Street, Hebden Bridge, and were waiting outside the shop for a lift home.

"It happened out of the blue, it was really bad timing, and I got off a lot better than Valerie," said Mr Manfield, 43, who has been employed part-time at the bookshop for a year, and also works as an illustrator.

"We were waiting for a taxi outside the bookshop and we were hit by a van.

"I saw it just before it hit. I'm not sure where it hit me, it just threw me away and I got up.

"People were absolutely fantastic, locals who either lived nearby or worked nearby helped us and contacted the emergency services.Mr Manfield said he was stunned and shaken by the incident and was unsure what had happened to the injured woman.

"Valerie was trapped underneath, it was horrible. All I knew was that she was breathing."

Mr Manfield said a number of locals rushed to the accident scene to help.

"Sadly you find out about people in these sort of occasions, they're probably fantastic in their own lives, but you don't find out until something like this happens."

The accident happened at Market Street when a grey Ford Transit van mounted the pavement and crashed into a shop, crushing Mrs Cullinan.

Mrs Cullinan, 67, was taken by West Yorkshire Police helicopter from Calder Holmes Park, Hebden Bridge, to Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, before being transported to St James's Hospital.

She and her husband Brian have four children.

Mr Manfield suffered cuts and bruises, and was recuperating at home with his partner Miss Jo Kessel, 41.

Market Street and part of Burnley Road was closed while firefighters from Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Halifax helped to cut Mrs Cullinan free from the wreckage of the van.

The road remained closed for more than three hours while police investigated the area and collected forensic evidence.

A diversion was put in place but major disruption was caused to traffic.

The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old Todmorden man, was arrested and interviewed by police. He was later released on police bail.

Anyone who witnessed the accident should telephone Calderdale Police Road Traffic Department on 01422 318146 or Calderdale Police helpdesk on 01422 337077.

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