‘Safety must be stepped up at danger junction’

DEATH TOLL MOUNTS: The scene of the latest fatal crash on the A19 at the Elwick Village junction
DEATH TOLL MOUNTS: The scene of the latest fatal crash on the A19 at the Elwick Village junction
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A COUNCILLOR is calling for action after a pensioner died at a notorious accident blackspot.

Hilary Thompson, Hartlepool Borough councillor for Elwick, wants to see something done to combat further accidents at the A19 junction on the outskirts of the village.

Coun Thompson’s call comes days after the death of a 71-year-old motorcyclist who was involved in a collision with a non-UK registered Peugeot 807 on the southbound carriageway close to the junction.

The man, from the Sunderland area, was pronounced dead at the scene of the smash, which happened around 7.50pm last Thursday.

The driver of the car, a 48-year-old foreign national, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The incident marks the fifth death on the stretch of road in three years.

Coun Thompson, who is also the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “After this latest fatality, following very soon after the last one, there must be real action on a long-term solution for the A19 crossings.

“There are various options to address safety. Do we close the gaps permanently, aim to reduce speeds, look at banning right turns, or are there other solutions?

“It is imperative that we set up a consultation without delay and this must include farmers, some of whom need to access land on both sides of the A19.”

The tragedy comes just a month after Margaret Clay, 42, of South Hetton, died when her Vauxhall Corsa car collided with a stationary lorry in a lay-by on the A19, near Hartlepool.

The collision happened on the northbound carriageway, around half-a-mile south of Ron Perry and Son A19 Services.

In 2008 Coun Thompson’s predecessor, the late Coun Stan Kaiser, called for the junction to be closed after dad-of-five Andrew Grimes, 44, from Middlesbrough, and mum-of-five Lillian Prest, 44, of Murton, were killed in a collision at the crossroads as they travelled south in a Ford Escort.

Six months earlier, retired teacher Margaret Pearson, 76, from Dalton Piercy, died at a similar junction less than two miles away.

A council spokesman said: “The A19 and the access points to and from it come under the jurisdiction of the Highways Agency, but of course the council will work with and support the Highways Agency in any investigation it may decide to undertake.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We understand this latest incident is being investigated by police and as such, as legal proceedings are underway, it would be difficult for us to comment.”