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Taxi driver dies in road crash

21:04 05 September 2003

By Liz Hearnshaw

A TAXI driver has been killed and an 18-year-old girl left fighting for her life following two horrific road crashes.

The fatal accident, which brings the death toll on the county's roads to 39 this year, happened at about 7.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A TAXI driver has been killed and an 18-year-old girl left fighting for her life following two horrific road crashes.

The fatal accident, which brings the death toll on the county's roads to 39 this year, happened at about 7.30am yesterday when a taxi from a Bury St Edmunds firm was in collision with a coach on the A143 at Great Barton.

The taxi driver - who is believed to be aged 62 and live in the local area, but who has not yet been named - died at the scene, despite efforts by ambulance and fire crews to free him from the mangled wreckage of his car.

The coach was not carrying passengers at the time of the accident and the driver escaping the crash with minor injuries.

Sgt David Griffiths, of Suffolk police, said: “This was a two-vehicle collision between a Vauxhall Vectra taxi from a local Bury St Edmunds firm and a coach operated by Simonds of Botesdale.

“The taxi was travelling from Great Barton towards Ixworth when it was involved in the collision with the coach travelling in the opposite direction.

“The taxi driver died in the collision, while the coach driver, who was not carrying passengers at the time of the incident, suffered minor injuries and did not require medical attention.

“Extensive congestion built up throughout rush-hour as the roads around the scene are very narrow, rural carriageways.”

Martyn Simonds, managing director of Simonds of Botesdale, said its services to the public would not be affected as a result of the crash.

“The coach was empty and was about to begin a service from Bury St Edmunds bus station towards Diss,” he added.

“We have not yet been able to ascertain the damage to the coach as it was detained at the accident scene for some time, but this will not affect our normal services.

“The driver is shaken by the incident and suffered some slight injuries and shock.”

The accident prompted calls for improvements along the narrow stretch of roadway through Great Barton, where residents have been campaigning for a bypass to take heavy traffic away from their streets.

Margaret Horbury, who represents Great Barton on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We need a bypass desperately. It gets busier and busier each day, and the traffic is appalling.

“The village is a pinch point and it can be a death-defying exercise to pull out from the crossroads near the Bunbury Arms. It is becoming absolutely impossible.

“A bypass for Great Barton would be heaven and it is a dreadful thing to say, but the more accidents we have here, the better chance we have of getting something done.”

In the second incident, a car carrying four passengers was involved in a crash on Fordham Road in Newmarket shortly after midnight yesterday.

The woman driver, an 18-year-old believed to be from the Cambridge area, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge with serious injuries. A hospital spokesman described yesterday her condition as “critical”.

Another 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, both rear seat passengers, were cut from the vehicle by firefighters, while a front seat male passenger also sustained injuries.

All three were taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, but their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information about the Great Barton accident should contact Bury St Edmunds traffic police on 01284 774153.

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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