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Safety calls after second A140 crash

PUBLISHED: 05:14 29 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

FIRE crews fought to release the seriously injured occupants of two cars after the second accident on the same stretch of the A140 road in seven days.

The collision took place just half a mile from the spot outside Stoke Ash Primary School where a pupil received minor injuries in an accident last Wednesday.

FIRE crews fought to release the seriously injured occupants of two cars after the second accident on the same stretch of the A140 road in seven days.

The collision took place just half a mile from the spot outside Stoke Ash Primary School where a pupil received minor injuries in an accident last Wednesday.

It was the most serious road accident which military personnel in Suffolk have attended since the fire strikes began.

The latest crash happened just after 3.30pm yesterday near the bottom of a dip in the road between the village school and the White Horse pub, near the junction of a minor road leading to the parish church.

Retained firefighters used special equipment to cut through the metal frame of a BMW to release the trapped driver.

A team of four RAF personnel from Ipswich who were standing in for firefighters during the latest strike was called to help release the second victim.

Flt Sgt Mick Clarkstone, senior aircraftsman Karl Jones, leading aircraftsman Lee Dunleavy, and Cpl Paul Robinson, used hydraulic equipment to cut the roof off a Toyota.

The elderly male victim was released and taken to Ipswich Hospital with serious injuries in a helicopter from Wattisham

Flt Sgt Mick Clarkstone, who is a fully trained RAF firefighter, said: "This was the worst incident we have been called to so far.

"The gentleman had severe injuries throughout his body. It's not very pleasant but it's a job that we are here to do and we just get on with it.

"They required assistance and it's lucky we were on-hand and could be there for them. It wasn't a routine task and there were problems, but there were a lot of people on the scene to advise and we all worked together," he added.

Cpl Robinson said: "We just concentrated on the job. We have been given good training from the RAF and utilised that. We haven't been in this situation before but we just did our best."

Police closed the road and traffic was diverted as emergency services dealt with the incident. There was a tailback of several miles on the Ipswich side of the crash scene.

The accident prompted campaigners to renew their calls for improvements on the road including a reduction in the 60mph speed limit.

Mike Langan, chairman of Stoke Ash and Thwaite Parish Council, said: "We all want this road improved. Major work is necessary at all the junctions and we need a speed limit on this stretch.

"Our major concern has to be the safety of children crossing the road to get to the primary school. There are no crash barriers and the ideal solution might be a footbridge over the road."

Gordon Leathers, headteacher at Stoke Ash Primary School, said at a meeting earlier this week parents had expressed their grave concerns about the dangers of the A140 through the village.

Since last week's accident parents had been driving pupils to school instead of letting them cross the A140 on foot. The rest of the pupils from other villages arrived and left by bus.

"We are raising our concerns with the county council," Mr Leathers added.

Two residents at the scene of yesterday's accident said everyone in Stoke Ash was convinced that action had to be taken to improve the road to prevent further injuries and loss of life.

Pete Pengelly said the road needed widening and a 40mph speed limit introduced and enforced. "I have been tempted to keep my daughter off school because of the situation here," he said.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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