North Devon Link Road crash victim calls for road to be dualled

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 August 2017

Ron Scammell, who survived a fatal car crash on the A39 near Bideford, is calling for safety improvements to the North Devon Link Road. Picture: Andy Keeble

Ron Scammell, who survived a fatal car crash on the A39 near Bideford, is calling for safety improvements to the North Devon Link Road. Picture: Andy Keeble

Archant

Central reservation on North Devon Link Road would help prevent more deaths, says motorist involved in fatal 2014 collision.

A Northam man involved in a fatal car accident on the North Devon Link Road has added his voice to calls for urgent safety improvements to the road.

Ron Scammell was lucky to survive a high speed collision on the A39 between Bideford and Barnstaple in February 2014.

The incident claimed the life of 67-year-old Penelope Woolaway and left her husband Mark with serious head injuries

The rear tyre of the Ford KA they were travelling in deflated, causing it to veer into the path of Mr Scammell’s VW Scirocco.

Emergency services survey the scene of the crash on the A39 near Bideford in 2014. Picture: Andy Casey Emergency services survey the scene of the crash on the A39 near Bideford in 2014. Picture: Andy Casey

The now 72-year-old was left with a shattered right leg and a broken sternum and spent five weeks in hospital.

Mr Scammell said he had no memory of the collision and was unable to drive for 13 months following the incident.

“I’ve always been a careful driver and have never had a point on my licence in 50 years of motoring but I didn’t want to drive; I didn’t feel ready,” he said.

“The accident happened only three miles from where I live and I pass where it happened most weeks.

“I’d never met Mrs Woolaway but I always say a little prayer for her when I pass that spot,” he added.

Speaking to the Gazette following two fatal collisions on the A361 last month, Mr Scammell said he was convinced that a dual carriageway – with a central reservation – could prevent more deaths on the road.

“I would like to see it dualled with a central reservation to stop traffic coming across,” said the retired accountant, who admitted he ‘burst into tears’ when he heard about the deaths of nine-year-old Keira Ball, from South Molton, and Jane Baker-Locket, 43, and her 12-year-old twins, James and Amy Gaskin, from Milton Keynes.

“If the road had been dualled, I believe that most, perhaps all of these deaths and severe injuries would have been avoided or lessened.

“These roads can be made safer; something sensible can and should be done.”

Devon County Council has drawn up a £250million plan to widen sections of the A361 and A39, upgrade junctions and remove right turns between Bideford and South Molton.

More than 500 people have offered feedback on the proposals and a business case will be submitted to the Department for Transport in December.

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