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Norwich man crushed under road roller in accident

Gary Vicary in hospital after being crushed under a road roller in an accident at the roadworks on the A11 near the Ketteringham crossroads.

Picture: Denise Bradley

Gary Vicary in hospital after being crushed under a road roller in an accident at the roadworks on the A11 near the Ketteringham crossroads. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant © 2011

A dad of two who survived being crushed under a four-tonne road roller today praised a paramedic and a site worker for saving his life.

Gary Vicary, 40, from Bowthorpe, was left with a broken leg after the roller tipped over while he was driving it along the A11. Today he was due to undergo a six-hour skin graft operation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to fill a big hole left in his leg following the accident.

But despite understandable fear about the operation and the constant pain in his leg, his first thought was to thank James Wyatt, who comforted him throughout the ordeal, and a paramedic who helped him pull through.

He said: “Jamie was working on the site. He stayed with me and never once left my side. He supported my head and my body. He comforted me a lot and I would like to say a big ‘thanks’ to him.

“And I would also like to say a special thank-you to the woman paramedic who arrived soon after.

“They wanted to take the roller off my leg but she said ‘don’t move it’ and she was right. If they had moved it, it would have crushed all of us. She put her life in danger to help and protect me and deserved a medal. The two of them risked their lives to stay with me.”

Following the accident last Thursday he said his leg was left bent, broken and twisted and it was so misshapen his big toe was facing towards his face.

The self-employed ground worker, who has been in the business 17 years, said he was driving a road roller at about 4.30pm in preparation for tarmac to be laid at the site, on the A11 near Ketteringham, where a new junction is being built.

He said: “We were grading out a footpath ready for the tarmac. I was putting the wood down and reversed the road roller up onto a path. I started to shunt it to get it on line.

“As I started to reverse back the bank gave way and the roller fell down. It was at a 45-degree angle.

“I had my seatbelt on and it tipped over. There’s no side protection on these rollers so both my legs came out and I was twisted upside down in the roller.

“As it tipped over the branches and bushes knocked my glasses and hardhat off. I felt an excruciating pain in my right leg. I was hanging upside down.

“I released my seatbelt and I fell to the floor. The roller slid down the embankment. I could see my life passing by. I screamed out ‘For God’s sake, help me’.

“My right leg was wedged underneath the roller and I thought I was trapped. The lorry driver who was about to lay the tarmac went around to the site to get some people to help.

“One of them was Jamie and then the paramedic and emergency services arrived.

“When the fire brigade arrived they lifted the roller up with airbags and I was dug out.

“I was told that my leg breaks were grade 3B which is one of the worst. My right leg was broken in about eight places from my ankle to my knee. Jamie said my bones were sticking out my leg. It was like a horror movie.”

Mr Vicary was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but they could not insert steel rods into his leg because it was so badly damaged. Instead they put a brace on.

If today’s operation is successful, he said it will be at least six months before he’s recovered.

The Health and Safety Executive is believed to be looking into the incident, which Mr Vicary said was a “pure accident”.

have you got a story to tell us? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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