Plea after eight die in road deaths

By Dave GooderhamPOLICE have made an urgent plea for motorists to take care on the region's roads after eight people were killed in crashes over the past three weeks in Suffolk.

By Dave Gooderham

POLICE have made an urgent plea for motorists to take care on the region's roads after eight people were killed in crashes over the past three weeks in Suffolk.

A 20-year-old man from the Mildenhall area became the latest road fatality yesterday after a two-vehicle accident that left a second man in hospital with serious injuries.

Just hours later, police revealed American servicewoman Crystal Kopecky had died nine days after her car left the road and hit a tree on the A1065 in Eriswell.

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Now following the spate of accidents - including four deaths in the past five days, bringing the number of road fatalities in Suffolk this year to 38, compared with 59 in 2003 - police have issued a warning to drivers in the build-up to Christmas.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “It has been a particularly bad few weeks, which is extremely distressing especially in the run-up to what should be a happy, festive period.

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“Investigations are now ongoing into all these collisions, but we would always advise people to take care when driving on Suffolk's roads.”

In the latest fatal crash, a 20-year-old man from the Mildenhall area died when the Ford Sierra he was driving was involved in a collision with a Ford Escort in Shippea Hill Road, Beck Row, at about midnight yesterday.

The driver, who has not yet been named by police, was cut free from the wreckage of his car, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

His passenger, who also had to be cut free, suffered serious injuries and was last night in a stable condition in West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Suffolk police also said Crystal Kopecky, 20, of Coriander Drive, Thetford, has died nine days after a road accident in Eriswell on December 4.

Master Sgt Will Ackerman, spokesman for RAF Lakenheath, where Miss Kopecky worked as a medical technician, said: “Our thoughts and condolences go to the family of Airman Kopecky.

“As a member of the air force and a member of our delivery team at Lakenheath hospital, she was a valuable part of our team.

“Any loss is a great loss, not only to the family, but also her friends and co-workers who she was close to.”

He added: “As we get into the winter season, driving in this country becomes a very important thing that the base safety officials try to emphasise.

“We are carrying out a number of programmes, including regular safety briefings, and basically reminding people that driving in the UK is very different to driving back home. We are fairly confident servicemen and women are taking this message to heart.”

Police also named the lorry driver who died after his vehicle careered across two lanes of dual carriageway and plummeted 40ft onto the side of an underpass on Saturday morning.

Paul Takvam, 59, from Mirfield, west Yorkshire, died in the crash on the A14 at Gazeley, near Newmarket.

His 12-year-old son was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, where he is being treated for injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information about the crashes should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100.

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