Villagers demand action after road death

By Liz Hearnshaw A MOTORIST has died in an head-on crash on a notorious stretch of road early - just yards from the site of a similar fatality three years ago.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A MOTORIST has died in an head-on crash on a notorious stretch of road early - just yards from the site of a similar fatality three years ago.

Angry campaigners have now stepped up their calls for improvements along the busy A134, which claimed its latest victim yesterday following the early morning collision with a lorry.

The man, who has yet to be named by police, was travelling from Bury St Edmunds towards Thetford along the A134 when his silver Ford Mondeo was involved in a collision with the lorry heading in the opposite direction.

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The car, which spun across the carriageway following the crash, came to a rest just yards from a memorial plaque - put up about three miles north of Ingham by the mother and stepfather of 30-year-old Paul Bailey, who was killed at the same spot in a crash in June 2000.

Villagers called for safety improvements to be made along the A134 and criticised Suffolk County Council, which they claimed promised improvement measures about 10 years ago.

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They also blamed the number of heavy goods vehicles using the road for the recurrent accidents which have blighted the A134 over recent years.

Tim Root, chairman of Ingham Parish Council, said: “We are obviously concerned at the sheer volume of traffic using the road - more than anything else, inevitably there are going to be accidents as a result of it. This is certainly an issue which has drawn a lot of concern and criticism.

“Since a weight ban was imposed at Norton around 10 years ago, all HGV traffic has been funnelled up the A134, doubling the lorry movements in our village overnight. The road was not designed to take this volume of traffic.

“At the time, the county council said the road would be trunked and an Ingham bypass would be constructed - neither of which has happened.”

He added: “Both ourselves and other villages along the A134 would like to see a more equitable distribution of traffic along the A-class roads network.

“The view of the parish council is straightforward - we are more than happy to take our fair share of lorries, but are not prepared to take everyone else's.”

Firefighters spent about 30 minutes cutting the man from the wreckage of his mangled car following yesterday's accident, but their efforts proved to be in vain as the motorist was pronounced dead at the scene.

The lorry driver, who was carrying a tanker of non-hazardous chemicals towards Bury St Edmunds, suffered minor injuries in the collision.

The busy road remained closed to rush-hour traffic for almost five hours following the 6.40am collision as police accident investigators scoured the carriageway and inspected the wreckage for clues as to the cause of the crash.

Acting Sgt Simon Clifton, of Suffolk police, said: “There is no known reason for the collision as yet and an investigation is taking place.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen either the accident, or the silver Ford Mondeo immediately prior to the collision on its journey from Bury, to contact us.”

The accident was almost a carbon copy of the crash in June 2000 during which Bury St Edmunds man Mr Bailey died.

The father-of-one was killed instantly when his car was involved in a collision with an articulated lorry on the same straight stretch of road.

His death left his wife Shelley, mother Paula and stepfather Ray Smith devastated and they installed a memorial plaque and maple tree at the scene.

Suffolk County Council made no comment on Mr Root's criticisms yesterday.

Anyone with information about the accident should contact Pc Keven Fuller, of Bury St Edmunds traffic police, on 01284 774100.

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