Tributes paid to road crash victim

By Sheena WalsheA MEMORIAL service will be held today for an American airman killed in a head-on road accident.Colleagues at RAF Mildenhall, where Staff Sergeant Gerald Nicholls was based, paid tribute yesterday to the 32-year-old married father-of-two.

By Sheena Walshe

A MEMORIAL service will be held today for an American airman killed in a head-on road accident.

Colleagues at RAF Mildenhall, where Staff Sergeant Gerald Nicholls was based, paid tribute yesterday to the 32-year-old married father-of-two.

The serviceman, who lived in Ely, was driving a silver Hyundai which was involved in a collision with a Land Rover Discovery just after 7am on Friday on the A1101 near Sedge Fen.


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RAF Mildenhall spokesman, Technical Sergeant Dennis Brewer, said Staff Sgt Nicholls had been in the United States Air Force for 13 years and was a non-commissioned officer of combat arms in the 321st Special Tactics Squadron.

Today's memorial service will be held at the base chapel building at 1pm and Tech Sgt Brewer said: "We are all sad at Staff Sgt Nicholls' death and our condolences go to his family. We have lost a valued member of our team."

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A colleague who worked in the same unit as Staff Sergeant Nicholls, but did not want to be named, said: "He was a good family man and you could count on him for anything."

An inquiry into the cause of the accident is being carried out by the base in conjunction with Suffolk police.

Officers have appealed for witnesses to the crash, which left Staff Sgt Nicholls' car at the edge of a deep road-side ditch.

They want to speak to the drivers of two lorries which stopped at Shippea Hill railway crossing and were overtaken by a red Peugeot.

Officers would also like to speak to a smartly-dressed man who said he was from near Littleport.

Detectives said that man, who stopped at the scene and gave cigarettes to people before leaving, could be a vital witness. In addition, they want to trace a J-registered cream-coloured or light-coloured Rover vehicle.

Staff Sgt Nicholls was airlifted to hospital by a search and rescue helicopter from Wattisham Airfield after 20 firefighters worked for about an hour to free him.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Anyone with information about the fatal accident should contact Pc Nick Starling on 01284 774224.

sheena.walshe@eadt.co.uk

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