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Graphic: Plea to drivers as toll of tragedy on Norfolk’s roads increases

Police accident sign.

Police accident sign.

The recent spate of tragic crashes has taken the death toll on Norfolk’s roads up to 35 this year, sparking a plea from road safety chiefs for drivers to take extra care.

Tragic toll

Year Number of deaths

2004 63

2005 64

2006 66

2007 58

2008 38

2009 50

2010 39

2011 43

2012 39

2013 40

2014 (to date) 35

Click here to view the graphic in full

This map shows the locations where the fatal crashes happened. The 35th fatality came last Wednesday night, when a woman in her 50s died after two cars plunged into a water-filled ditch off the A47.

Emergency teams tried to save the woman, who had gone into cardiac arrest. She was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but died.

Location of fatal crashes across Norfolk 2013 - 2014Location of fatal crashes across Norfolk 2013 - 2014

She was in a Ford Puma which crashes with a Skodia Fabia, near Acle. Another woman, travelling in the same car, suffered hypothermia and a man, who was driving the other car in the crash, suffered back pain.

Last Monday saw 31-year-old Krzysztof Lagodzinski, from Saham Toney, die when his Vauxhall Astra plunged into a ditch off the B1108 near Scoulton.

His inquest was opened and adjourned in Norwich yesterday.

That tragedy came a day after a man in his 30s died at Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn. His Ducati motorcycle was in a collision with a red Peugeot 306 on the A17.

Other recent tragedies included 12-year-old Rhys Yates, who was hit by a car in Ludham; Jake Kane, 18, whose motorcycle crashed on the A1065 at Mundford and 28-year-old Michelle Hackett, who lost her fight for life nearly two weeks after a crash at Wymondham.

Two lives were lost in one crash in September. Roy Huggins, 52, from Bradwell, and Tony Childerhouse, 52, from King’s Lynn, died when their motorcycles collided on the B1136 Loddon Road in September.

A police investigation was launched after a couple died on the A47 at Terrington St John, near King’s Lynn. The man was Tadas Zaleskas, 26, and the woman, was Nonita Karajevaite, 24.

Both Tadas and Nonita, an engaged couple originally from Lithuania, lived in Church Road, Emneth.

They died after being struck by a car as they walked along the carriageway in July.

Police had said there was “some degree of certainty” that the woman had been pushed in front of a vehicle by her fiancé.

Last year, there were 40 deaths, although the annual figures have come down. In 2006, there were 66 deaths.

Iain Temperton, team manager of casualty reduction at Norfolk County Council, said: “As ever with the numbers we are dealing with, there is no real pattern and the only identifiable link is that people are making mistakes.

“Exactly what happens is examined at inquests, but the fact is that people are making errors while driving.”

Mr Temperton said there are a series of initiatives in place to get the safety message across, with particular focus on four key groups – younger drivers, older drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians and cyclists.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the joint roads policing unit at Norfolk and Suffolk police, said: “The rise in collisions at this time of year can be down to a number of factors including lighting defects, poorer weather conditions and people not used to driving in the dark.

“We know that one of the main causes of collisions at this time of year is drivers not looking properly. I would encourage drivers to watch their speed, keep a good distance between you and the car in front, and take time to look out for other road users, cyclists and pedestrians.”

• Are you campaigning for improved safety on a road where you live? Tell us about it by calling Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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