A FATHER-of-three has told of the horrific moment a pick-up truck smashed into a swan as it sat on the road close to the King’s Pond beauty spot in Alton.

Liam Sheridan, 35, of Goodyers, was on his way to the railway station at about 7.30am on February 9 when he saw the American-style, dark grey, flatbed truck run over the bird on Ashdell Road.

“The swan was in the road, it was just sitting there. Another swan was near to it but that was on the grass verge. The pick up truck came along on my right and just hit it – went straight over the middle of it. It made quite a big bang and feathers flew up everywhere, all over the road. It was really shocking,” he said.

“At first I thought the swan must have been killed straight away because of the impact. I imagined it had been flattened but then as I looked its head appeared over the verge. It was obviously still alive. The pick-up truck didn’t slow down and just carried on to the junction with Paper Mill Lane.”

Mr Sheridan, who is a commercial lawyer, can’t understand how the driver failed to see the bird, as it was such a large, white object and was stationary on a straight stretch of the road near to the turn off that leads to the King’s Pond car park.

“I don’t think the driver could have missed seeing the swan. It was stationary, so it was not as though it suddenly appeared in front of him or her.”

Mr Sheridan phoned his wife, Rachel, and asked her to call the RSPCA, but the swan died before help arrived.

“There was not a lot I could do so I went on and got the train to London. The swan was alive when I left but it did not survive much longer because by the time my wife took the children to school, about an hour later, it was dead.”

The incident has prompted calls for drivers to take extra care near the pond. Over the past few weeks, minor traffic hold ups have been caused, as cars have had to stop and go around swans gathering together and sitting on Ashdell Road. With spring around the corner, the situation is likely to get worse as courting ducks tend to congregate at the location too.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said birds often mistake shiny or wet roads for water and find themselves unable to take off and get out of the way of vehicles. She appealed for drivers to take special care where animals are known to cross the highway.

Wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and as such it is an offence to injure them, she added.