Town reeling after four fatalities in five weeks

The scene after the car crash on the junction of Heald House Road and Bent Lane, which killed Hazel Ianson
The scene after the car crash on the junction of Heald House Road and Bent Lane, which killed Hazel Ianson
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Serious concerns are being raised over road safety issues in Leyland, after four people have died in the space of just five weeks as a result of traffic collisions in the town.

The first fatality occurred after 51-year-old dog walker Hazel Ianson was walking along the pavement on Bent Lane on February 12, and was hit by a 69-year-old female driver.

Mrs Ianson, from Lynton Avenue, died two weeks later in hospital, on March 1.

On March 31, vintage vehicle enthusiastic Tom Snape died after spending five months in hospital, following a collision in the town in November last year.

He was knocked off his bicycle by a car on Preston Road, and was taken to hospital in a ‘serious’ condition.

The driver was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, and completed a driving improvement course.

A coroner confirmed although Mr Snape was not well enough to return home on Stanifield Lane after the accident, his death was not a direct result of the injuries caused.

On April 2, an elderly couple were travelling along Schleswig Way, when the 79-year-old driver collided with a lamp-post.

They were taken to hospital, but the female passenger, 80-year-old Mrs Rooney, died on April 5.

Her husband is still in a hospital, in a stable condition.

On that same day, a man died after he crashed into a house on Longmeanygate, following a high-speed police chase through the town.

Geoffrey Gill, 55, from Ulnes Walton, was spotted driving ‘erratically’ by police in Farington Road in the early hours of Friday, April 5.

He failed to stop the car when approached by police, who said he sped off in the direction of Midge Hall, and he smashed into the house on Longmeanygate.

He died later that day in hospital.

Lancashire Police voluntarily referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

But an IPCC spokesman has since confirmed to the Guardian: “We completed an assessment and decided we were content for Lancashire Constabulary to conduct its own investigation without our involvement.”

But a Leyland councillor has now spoken of his worries over the number of incidents occurring on Leyland’s roads.

Coun Derek Forrest said: “There seems to be more accidents these days in Leyland than we would expect.

“I would like to think we can all walk along the streets or cycle around the town without facing a risk from motorists.

“I have received a lot of complaints from people about speeding in the area, and I would like to look at setting up a local group to look at road safety in Leyland – I don’t think enough attention is paid to this issue at the moment.”

Lancashire Police says that road safety is one of its priorities.

Chief Inspector Debbie Howard, from the Road Policing Unit, said: “We will continue to work extremely hard to reduce the number of people killed and injured and to educate motorists to help make our roads safer for everyone.”