Friday, September 21, 2007

Deaths in cars.

This has been a bad week in the newspapers for deaths in cars. Five people have been killed after a car chased by police turned the wrong way down a motorway before colliding head on with another vehicle. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the crash, although police insist they stopped chasing the vehicle when it joined the M4 in South Wales.

Three young men were pronounced dead at the scene in one car and a couple in another car were also killed on the eastbound carriageway of the motorway, between junctions 25A and 25, near Newport. The two vehicles involved were identified as a red Ford Mondeo and a red Volvo 940. Tom Davies, IPCC Commissioner, said the pursuit began when four men sped away from a marked patrol car which had attempted to pull them over.

The mother of the driver of the red Mondeo has spoken of her horror at the loss of life and sense of sorrow. Chris Beresford, 18, from Duffryn was driving the vehicle as it travelled in the wrong direction on the M4 and collided with a Volvo being driven by James Stafford, 69, from Thornton Heath. Mr Stafford's wife Bridget, 70, was a passenger in the Volvo. Beresford's mother Teresa Fielding has reportedly said "I feel devastated for all those families. I had to go and identify my own child and I am sorry so many other families were put through the same thing. In my heart I feel I have caused the deaths of the other people who have died. I can't apologise enough."

The crash occurred after a car with four male occupants was chased on to the motorway by police from Penhow following a report of 'suspicious activity' and proceeded to drive against the traffic flow. The police abandoned their pursuit of the vehicle, which crashed into another car at high speed after travelling along the motorway for a mile and a half, the IPCC reported, while announcing that it had been asked by Gwent Police to investigate the incident. The collision occurred between Junction 25 and 25A of the M4. Three of the four men are reported as dead. The fourth is in a critical condition in the Royal Gwent Hospital. The men are understood to be from the Maindee and Duffryn areas of Newport. They were driving in a stolen red Ford Mondeo. They drove headlong into a red Volvo heading eastbound. The couple in the car, believed to be on their way home from Ireland, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police forces in England and Wales are to review the rules for police drivers involved in high-speed car chases after a damning report found too many officers were taking "unnecessary risks".

...This tragic accident should never have happened. I have no complaints with the actions of the Police. This car was stolen by criminals and they decided not to stop when requested by the Police. When a criminal refuses to stop for the Police and tries to get away then that is their decision. If the criminal dies because of their bad driving then that is their problem. The buck stops with the criminal and I am tired of the complaints about Police pursuits resulting in deaths. It is the criminals refusal to stop and continue to drive badly that results in their deaths. There will be cases when innocent members of the public are killed but as a society we cannot stand idly by and let these arrogant criminals get away clean for fear that they hurt themselves. If they are prepared to do the crime then they must be prepared to do the time. If they refuse to stop and try to escape from the Police and hurt themselves then it is their hard cheese.

A father who lost four children after they became trapped under water in his Land Rover has paid tribute to his “rays of light”. Nigel Gresham said he hoped no other parent would ever have to go through the nightmare he was enduring following the accident. Mr Gresham, 36, and his partner, Sara Bolland, 31, were with all seven of their children when their 12-seater 4x4 plunged into a river at the weekend. Mr Gresham and Miss Bolland managed to free themselves from the sinking vehicle but were unable to get to the youngsters.

The Land Rover is thought to have slipped down the riverbank after squeezing past a minibus towing a trailer of canoes in the opposite direction. Lincolnshire police are still investigating the circumstances of the accident and have interviewed the minibus driver and impounded the vehicle. Sadly Nigel recalls "Thor was car-mad, jumping on me all the time, asking: 'Are we going off-roading this weekend, dad?'

...This is another tragic accident that should never have happened. What made Nigel drive into the river only time and investigation will reveal. Many people believe that modern 4X4 vehicles offer safety and they can go anywhere. People often forget just how fragile life can be and beyond the butch design of their cars death can be only seconds away.

A Christian politician was killed by a car bomb in Lebanon in the latest of a series of attacks on anti-Syrian figures. Antoine Ghanem, 64, a member of the Right-wing Christian Phalange Party, was killed along with eight other people in the attack in a Christian suburb of Beirut. He was the eighth prominent anti-Syrian figure assassinated since 2005 and the attack came just six days before parliament was scheduled to meet to elect a new president in a deeply divisive vote.

Antoine Ghanem was an easy target. Few bodyguards, no one would think that a member of parliament who represented the Armenians of Lebanon was a target. The little street in which he lived – tall tower blocks, boutiques, flower shops, was not a place where you would try to kill an enemy of Syria – if he was an enemy of Syria – but Antoine was blasted to pieces in his car as he left his home. And that means there is one left in the government to make up the numbers. In other words, it only takes one more murder for the democratically elected government of Lebanon to fall. At least 22 people were wounded in the explosion of the bomb which killed him in the capital's Sinal-Fil district. It appeared that the car bomb was detonated by remote control. Ghanem's car was blown at least 150ft away by the explosion.

...This is an awful tragedy. Nine people killed and another 22 people wounded. Here in the UK you must look out for moving vehicles before you cross the road. You would not expect a car to explode as we have a democracy in which we elect our representatives. Lebanon also has a democracy, although a fractured one. The number of Lebanese politicians murdered over the years is huge. I hope our democracy never gets to the stage where our elected representatives are bumped off together with innocent by-standers from car bombs.

The above are three stories of car related deaths and chillingly the worst is the last. Moments before the first two tragedies you could see it coming. The first was caused by arrogant criminals who decided to ignore the law regardless of the consequences. The second sadly appears to be driver error. The third was a complete shock, a huge bang out of the blue. You never know what is around the corner.
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