A QUICK-THINKING garage worker prevented a tragedy after a runaway four by four smashed into a fuel pump.
Trina Collins, forecourt assistant at Ron Perry & Son A19 Services near Hartlepool, hit an emergency button cutting off all fuel as she feared the garage could have erupted in a huge fireball.
The Landrover Freelander destroyed the pump after veering out of control as it came onto the forecourt.
Amazingly, no fuel leaked out and nobody was hurt in the incident. The repair bill has been estimated at anywhere between £15,000 and £20,000.
The incident, which happened at around midday on Saturday on the southbound services, is being treated as an accident.
Emergency services raced to the scene after the alarm was raised by the quick-thinking garage staff.
Miss Collins said: “I just heard a massive crash, looked up and saw a fire extinguisher in mid air.
“I noticed a jeep had crashed into pump five and six.
“I just hit the emergency stop button which sucks all the fuel back down into the tanks like a vacuum.
“If I didn’t hit the emergency button, and if petrol had hit the ignition, it could have been a fireball.
“The driver got out and had his head in his hands.”
It is believed the driver, who is from the Manchester area, had only just bought the vehicle in Newcastle and was driving back home when the crash happened.
Miss Collins estimated the bill for the damage could be anywhere between £15,000 and £20,000.
The forecourt was shut for about two hours while emergency services dealt with the incident.
Andy Hardy, watch manager at Billingham Fire Station, said: “He had just come in a little bit too quick. Amazingly, there wasn’t a leak but the pump was written off and the vehicle damaged.”