Mile Cross #32
Drink and drive.
It was a late Sunday evening in October, 1949. Harry (Colo) and Blanche Harrison were returning from a friend's house in Costessey after picking up two Rabbits. They had almost made it all the way back to their Berners Street home when tragedy struck. A drunk driver heading out of the City on his way home to Bylaugh ploughed into the unwitting couple as they crossed the road, killing them (and the rabbits) outright.
The police arrived, conducted their investigations, took some pictures and witness statements before letting the driver continue his journey home!
They had just bumped into another couple that they knew on the Dolphin Footpath from Heigham and were walking back together, if it wasn't for the fact that the other gentleman had stopped to light a cigarette before crossing the road, the tragedy could have been a lot worse. On the other hand, had Harry and Blanche stopped too there might not have been a tragedy at all. Life works in mysterious ways.
Witnesses said that the driver struggled to give his name and address coherently to the police because he was so drunk. It's amazing to think that this driver was allowed to continue home in his car by the Police after such a tragic event. How times have - thankfully - changed!
The Police even made inquiries to establish whether the couple themselves were sober, questioning people in the nearby pubs to see if they had been in there that evening.
At the inquest, when the police doctor took the stand he was asked by the judge if it would be fair to say that, for a man who'd been drinking, the shock of being involved in an accident would sober him up pretty quickly. The doctor agreed it would be fair to say so. The whole verdict simply rested on whether the driver was fit to be in charge of a car. The jury decided he was.
I've seen Photographs from the police file on this case and the junction has hardly changed in over 65 years. I'd love to share them but I can't. The main difference is the newly-added Zebra crossing that most drivers seem to ignore. The Dolphin footpath sign is the original sign from the 1920's.