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Police commissioner’s sadness at spate of Suffolk road tragedies

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:17 01 February 2016

Orford Road in Bromeswell which was the scene of the fatal collision.

Orford Road in Bromeswell which was the scene of the fatal collision.

One month into 2016 and six people have already lost their lives on Suffolk roads, in what the police and crime commissioner called “absolutely devastating tragedies”.

Andrew Keep, 22, from Great Bealings, became the sixth person to lose his life on the county’s highways in January alone after a collision on the B1084 at Bromeswell on Friday evening.

After he was named by police, friends took to social media last night to pay tribute to “such a lovely guy”.

“Such a top bloke taken at such a young age. Always up for a laugh and always made me laugh,” wrote Scott Moore.

Eloise Morris wrote: “Still don’t believe this, in complete shock. Thank you for being one of the kindest, caring and genuinely one of best people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. I’ll miss you so much.”

Across Suffolk, the average rate of road deaths this year is already double that of 2015, which saw 35 people lose their lives throughout the year in traffic collisions – the highest figure since 2009.

“I was really shocked to hear the news of Suffolk’s sixth road fatality this month,” said Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore.

“This has not got 2016 off to a good start in any way. These tragedies are absolutely devastating for the victims and their families and friends and as always our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very traumatic time.”

Mr Keep died in a crash at 8.20pm, just hours after another man died in a single-vehicle crash at Brandon. He has not yet been named by police but they believe he may have had a medical episode at the wheel.

The current rate of six deaths a month would result in 72 deaths for 2016 – more than double 2015’s 35.

Suffolk Constabulary is working to improve road safety, with Mr Passmore saying he would do whatever he could help make the region’s road network safer.

“Anything I can do to bring forward the constabulary’s plans for improving road safety across the county will be done,” he said, adding that part of this would be improving the enforcement against drivers committing one of the so-called “fatal four” offences while driving: drink and drugs, mobile phones, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt.

“The extra road policing unit that we have agreed in the local policing review will be launched as soon as possible,” he said.

The five other fatalities so far in 2016 occurred on January 8 near Bungay, January 11 near Bury St Edmunds, January 23 in Ipswich, January 26 near Great Finborough and January 29 in Brandon.

Mr Passmore added: “While not being in a position to comment on individual actions, it is the case that unfortunately many collisions are due to driver error so please take extra care.

“Allow more time, don’t take risks and always be mindful that driving on our roads can be hazardous so be prepared for the unexpected.”

Any witnesses to the crash involving Mr Keep were asked to contact the serious collision investigation team at Suffolk Constabulary on 101, quoting reference CAD 357 of Friday 29 January.

Police have confirmed no suspicious device has been found after the Center Parcs resort in Elveden was evacuated this evening.

Thousands of families and eager festival-goers braved the changeable weather this weekend to enjoy top bands, food and art at Jimmy’s Festival.

The wealth of “enthusiasm” for keeping Sudbury tidy has been revealed at a meeting organised by the town council, which plans to get the community’s efforts “on the map”.

Trains running to and from London Liverpool Street are being delayed, cancelled and revised as a result of a signalling issue this evening.

A 79-year-old man reported missing from Kedington near Haverhill has been found.

Suffolk New College is launching its summer programme of sports sessions for youngsters this week.

This is the story of the Neptune Inn in Fore Street, but before we learn of its history there are two diversionary tales, writes John Norman.

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