THE driver of a van involved in a head-on crash with a car used by suspected armed robbers as a get-away vehicle has spoken of the terrifying moment he thought he was going to die.
Jimmy McClean, 21, began Friday like any other morning.
He left his home in Harold Crescent, Waltham Abbey for work as a delivery driver for DP Leake television services in High Road, Woodford Green.
But his day ended with a trip to hospital after his van collided with a red Peugeot 206 in Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, which had earlier been seen leaving the scene of an armed robbery outside Barclays bank in Beehive Lane, Gants Hill.
Mr McClean said: "I was on my way to a call in Ilford, on my second job of the day, heading towards Charlie Brown’s roundabout when the next thing I knew this car was on my side of the road heading straight for me – there was nothing I could do.
"The first thing I thought was I’m dead.
"The door was jammed shut, but I had to get out because the van was filling up with smoke.
"I saw the driver of the car run off and a police officer follow that was when I knew it was a police chase.
"The guys left in the car looked in a bad way. One guy was really cut up on his face.
"I’m pretty sure there was a gun in the car because I heard the police mention one.
"I really don’t have any sympathy for them – they ruined someone’s day and then ruined mine."
Mr McClean was later treated in hospital for whiplash.
He added: "I’ve really damaged by shoulder, I struggle to lift anything.
"I thank God I was wearing my seatbelt.
"I keep going over what happened in my mind, I can’t get it out of my head."
Mr McClean’s colleague Tim Hurst was also taken to hospital after the crash.
Three men have been charged with robbery after a cash box was stolen at around 10am on Friday.
Chanel Riscosa, 29, of Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Nuaka Dimena, 29, of no fixed address and Basana Kimbembi, 30, also of no fixed address will all appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on March 4.
Riscosa was also charged with dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
The cash box was recovered from the car at the scene of the crash.
A Fiat Punto was also involved in the collision.