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Girl dies and dozens hurt on icy roads

PUBLISHED: 08:49 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

A 15-YEAR-old girl died and many people were injured during dozens of crashes on icy roads across Norfolk yesterday.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said it was the worst single day for road accidents in recent memory.

A 15-YEAR-old girl died and many people were injured during dozens of crashes on icy roads across Norfolk yesterday.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said it was the worst single day for road accidents in recent memory.

By late afternoon crews had been called to 28 separate incidents, 13 of which resulted in casualties being taken to hospital.

More than 55 further damage-only crashes were reported to police as the sub-zero conditions caused havoc on many of the county's roads. In contrast, only a handful of accidents were reported in Suffolk and Cambridge-shire.

Last night, a spokesman for Norfolk County Council said its gritting lorries had treated the usual 30pc of major routes during Saturday afternoon and evening and were due to carry out identical operations yesterday.

The girl who died was a passenger in a Vauxhall Corsa, which left the road and crashed into a tree on the A143 between Belton crossroads and St Olaves just after 8.30am.

Ambulance service spokesman Matthew Ware said: “In terms of road crashes, it is the worst day that we can remember. Nearly all of the accidents are attributable in some way to the road conditions.”

The Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service also experienced a busy day, being called to at least 10 crashes and freeing several people from trapped vehicles.

A 62-year-old woman suffered serious injuries to her leg and pelvis in a four-vehicle crash on the A146 Trowse bypass, near Norwich, at just before 1pm. Firefighters had to cut the roof off a vehicle to rescue her and the road was shut for several hours. Five other people were taken to hospital, one with facial injuries and four with back pain.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance took a five-year-old boy to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with a serious leg injury after a car rolled over three times and crashed into a hedge at Thornage.

The car was being driven towards Langham, at the junction of the A148, when the crash happened at just before 2.45pm. Three other people suffered minor injuries.

The air ambulance crew had one of its busiest days of the year, attending four incidents, with airborne paramedics assisting their land-based colleagues.

Other serious accidents included a collision between a car and a bus on the A149 at Holkham. Two people were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, both with neck and back pain.

Sgt Julian Roots, of Norfolk police, said: “We have had a huge number of accidents. We would have expected them to stop by lunchtime, but we have had them all day.”

Nick Tupper, of Norfolk County Council, said the authority's gritting teams put down extra grit on the roads as a result of a weather forecast, which predicted that temperatures would plummet to about minus 4C during Saturday night.

“We have got very robust procedures to make sure the gritting actions are completed,” he said. “The point I would stress is that we have a very large rural network in the county. We do treat 30pc of all the roads, but that does mean 70pc are untreated and when it is as cold as it has been, people need to drive to the conditions. There is no such thing as total prevention.”

Mr Tupper added that the percentage of roads treated in Norfolk compared favourably to other counties.

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