The driver whose lorry struck Clark Carlisle when the former Burnley striker attempted suicide by walking into its path says he will always be haunted by what happened.
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In his first interview since the incident in December, Darren Pease spoke of the moment he saw a figure jump into the path of his vehicle.
Pease had only three seconds to react and said how he knew despite slamming on the breaks the impact was inevitable.
He also spoke of how he feared both he and Carlisle would be killed by the impact when he saw the former professional footballer’s face collide with his windscreen.
“He just appeared in front of me like a ghost out of the dark. It was pitch black and he just appeared, straight out of the blackness,” said Darren Pease, reports Sunday Mirror.
“He was just there in front of me in the carriageway and I didn’t stand a chance. I knew I was going to hit him, I couldn’t stop. I was just thinking, ‘Get out of the way, get out of the way, move, move’.
“But he just leaped into the air, into the cab. Whoosh. Those few seconds changed my life for ever.”
The 53-year-old suffered temporary blindness after shards of glass from his shattered windscreen slice his eyes but thankfully his sight has since recovered.
He has since, however, been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been unable to work – he fears even turning on the TV as he may see Carlisle’s face and be reminded of the event.
“I was just thinking, ‘Where’s he gone? I’ve killed him’.
“Then I was worried he was in the road and someone was going to run him over, someone is going to crash into me.
“That wagon could have gone anywhere, I don’t know if it’s pure fate it didn’t end up on the other side of the carriageway into oncoming traffic, or down the banking into the field. That would have been the end of me. I couldn’t see a thing, my eyes were full of glass.
“I was thinking, ‘I’ve killed him, I’ve killed him, he’s dead’. I saw no way he could have survived it, not for weeks after. I just kept saying, ‘He’s dead, he’s dead’.
“I remember trying to find the hazard lights but the dashboard wasn’t where it was suppose to be. I just had to sit there praying someone would come.”
Pease has since been on sick-leave since the incident had has had to take medication for his trauma.
He is awaiting therapy for PTSD but is afraid that he will no long be able to return to work.