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Judge demands road sign after fatal crash in Cullingworth
A judge has called on Bradford Council to explain why a warning sign has still not been fitted 16 months after a fatal accident on a notorious road.
Motorist Susan Jones, 58, a quality assurance manager at a sweet factory, suffered fatal head injuries when her Ford Focus car was hit by a speeding 14-tonne wagon which went out of control on a bend near to the Flappit Quarry, Cullingworth, in August last year.
Yesterday, 45-year-old lorry driver Mark Sutcliffe, of School Lane, Greetland, was jailed for 16 months after he admitted causing Mrs Jones’s death by careless driving.
Although the A629 has a speed limit of 40mph for lorries, Sutcliffe’s vehicle was believed to have been travelling at around 50mph on a wet surface prior to the accident.
Prosecutor Richard Gioserano said investigations after the crash revealed that the road surface at the scene had “an abnormally low grip level when wet.”
Mr Gioserano said some re-texturing work had subsequently been carried out on the road surface to increase the grip and a temporary 30mph speed limit was introduced. The road currently has a speed limit of 40mph for all vehicles, but Mr Gioserano said a “slippery when wet” sign had yet to be erected despite a police request.
Judge Jonathan Rose said: “It is beyond my comprehension why if that unusual road surface was given to unusual slipperiness an appropriate warning had not previously been put up and it remains incomprehensible to me that even 16 months after this accident a sheet of metal with the words ‘slippery when wet’ or something similar has not been affixed."
Judge Rose paid tribute to mother-of-three Mrs Jones, from Saddleworth Road, Greetland, describing her as a loving and caring mother, wife and daughter.
She was freed from her vehicle by emergency services but died later at Leeds General Infirmary.
Disqualifying him from driving for 18 months Judge Rose told Sutcliffe: “This was a 14-tonne wagon. One does not need to be an HGV driver or an engineer or even a police officer to realise that a 14-tonne wagon driven at speed is potentially lethal.”