TWO friends have been killed in a head-on road crash in Blackburn.
Police said a Volkswagen Golf was being driven into the town along Preston Old Road, Feniscowles, when it collided with a Ford Focus travelling in the opposite direction.
The driver of the Golf, 35-year-old Jamie Dickson from Bamber Bridge, died of his injuries at the scene.
His front seat passenger, dad-of-two Kevin Evans, 34, from Blackburn, was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital but died a short time later.
The driver of the Focus, a 59-year-old man from Poulton-le-Fylde, was yesterday in a serious condition at Royal Blackburn Hospital.
It is believed he had just dropped his partner off at the nearby Fieldens Arms pub, and was travelling home towards the motorway when the incident happened near to the junction of Pleasington Lane, at 11.10pm on Wednesday.
The road, which is known to be an accident blackspot, was yesterday scattered with sand to cover patches of oil and other fluids that had leaked from the cars.
Christine Cooke, who lives opposite the crash site, had just gone to bed at 11.10pm when she heard a loud bang.
She said: “We have had a lot of accidents on this road, and as soon as I heard the bang, I knew what had happened.
“I quickly pulled a jumper and some tracksuit bottoms on over my pjyamas and went out, because I’m a first aider and I’ve been to a lot of bad crashes at motorsport events.
“When I got to the top of the drive I could see debris all over the road. The Focus had spun round and was facing the wrong way, and the Golf was in the wall on the wrong side of the road.
“Both cars’ front ends were well and truly smashed up and I could see that the two lads in the Golf were unconscious. I didn’t try to open the door to them, it was obvious that they needed more help than I could give.
“Then a group of lads who were in a passing car and who had stopped gave me a phone and I spent a long time talking to the police, telling them what was happening.”
She added: “The man who had been driving the Focus either got himself out or had been helped out, and was sitting in the back of a BMW that had stopped.
“After I’d finished on the phone I went to sit with him and chatted to him, asking questions about his injuries like any first aider would do.
“He had hurt his leg, but seemed ok other than that. He was looking at his car and saying what a mess it was, but I was telling him to forget about the car.”
It is believed that Mr Dickson lived on his own in the Clayton Brook area but was originally from Chorley, and Mr Evans lived in Blackburn with his two young daughters.
It is thought that the two men met and became friends as regulars at the Ley Inn pub in Clayton-le-Woods and the Halfway House pub in Whittle-le-Woods.
Sergeant Jon Allwright from the Road Policing Unit said: “This is a tragic accident that has and will affect three families and we have specially trained officers supporting them.
“A full investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened and I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have witnessed the collision or perhaps saw the vehicles in the run up to the collision to come forward and contact the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Road Policing Unit at Samlesbury on 101.
People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
Road is accident blackspot
SAFETY measures have been put in place on the stretch of Preston Old Road where the accident happened, after gaining a reputation as an accident blackspot.
After campaigning by residents who have attended dozen of accidents, crash barriers have been erected, red road markings and ‘slow’ signs installed, and the speed limit has been cut to 30mph.
But calls for more preventative measures have been made in light of the latest tragedy.
Councillor Michael Lee, leader of the opposition on Blackburn with Darwen Council, who lives in nearby Tintagel Close, said: “There have been a few accidents on that bend and it is quite sharp, but if people stick to the 30mph limit, it should be fine.
However, I have to say, if you’re travelling from the Preston end, going down the hill, it’s quite easy to build up speed and to be doing 40 or 50mph without really realising. Work has been done to help the situation though, including making it a 30mph zone, putting a crash barrier on the bend and putting ‘slow’ markings on the road.
“Perhaps they should also look at putting in an interactive speed sign, or something to tell people how many accidents and fatalities there have been there.”
Mrs Cooke, who attended the crash scene on Wednesday, said there has been about 13 other serious crashes on the road since she moved there 26 years ago. She said: “It was getting to the point where we would rebuild the garden wall from one crash, and it would get immediately knocked down again.
“We’ve campaigned and campaigned for a speed camera to be put in where it goes from 40mph to 30mph, but they won’t do it and we’re desperate.
“It took an awful lot of fighting for the council to put a crash barrier in.”
A woman who lives in Preston Old Road, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a very bad road and always has been. I’ve been out to quite a few accidents over the years, including motorcyclists who have been badly hurt.
“The road is very busy, people don’t abide by the 30mph speed limit, the camber of the road is a problem, and the trees overhang, so that slippery leaves fall on the road.
“There’s a church hall on that stretch too, where Brownies attend, and it’s a nightmare trying to cross.”