Woman’s lucky escape after fall in the dark

Fiona Guertin tripped over the car side panel which had been left on the pavement in the dark streets of Chichester.
Fiona Guertin tripped over the car side panel which had been left on the pavement in the dark streets of Chichester.

A WOMAN with a heart condition has spoken of her distress after tripping over an abandoned car panel on the dark streets of Chichester.

Fiona Guertin, 68, who has lived in Chichester for 25 years, was walking through a small square near North Pallant when she tripped, ‘went flying’, and landed on the sloping pavement.

She found she had fallen over a large car bumper which had been left on the ground.

Speaking about her ordeal, Fiona said: “I’ve got away with bruising and a pain in my wrist but another person might not have been so lucky.

“There should be much better lighting in that part of North Pallant. There is no lighting for quite a distance and it is really dark!

“The only light is up high on the corner – a block down from East Street, and it doesn’t light up the little square where cars reverse.”

West Sussex County Council has admitted the lighting in the area is ‘substandard’, and will be addressing the issue as part of their Street Lighting Private Finance Investment Initiative.

Fiona also expressed her anger that someone had left the ‘dangerous’ car bumper where a pedestrian could easily trip over it.

When she returned the next day to take a photo of the bumper, Fiona spoke to a hairdresser who said a vehicle had reversed into a post and then kicked the side panel to the pavement before driving away.

“The council needs to act promptly with the lighting situation and people need to be aware that such behaviour is anti-social according to the police,” said Fiona.

“I phoned West Sussex County Council who said another company dealt with the lighting in Chichester and things would take time.

“I rang the electrical company and they said it wasn’t up to them where to put lighting, it was up to WSCC, and their company just put the lighting where they were told!”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said their contractors ‘aim to deal’ with faulty lights within three days of receiving a reported fault.

The council is hoping to replace 80 per cent of faulty street lights by 2015.