The angry mother of a little girl ‘disabled for life’ in a road crash on a South Tyneside accident hotspot has issued an emotional plea for safety measures to be stepped up –after another pile-up on the busy stretch.
Lisa and Chris Bootes’ six-year-old daughter Jessica, who was just four at the time, spent 11 days in a coma and had to have the left side of her skull removed, suffered paralysis down the right side of her body and a loss of speech after her face smashed into the front passenger seat during a five-car collision on the A194 in Jarrow last March.
Taxi driver Amir Azad smashed into the back of Lisa and Chris Bootes’ Volkswagen Polo while they were stopped at traffic lights on the A194 Leam Lane, near the Lindisfarne Roundabout in Jarrow, causing a five vehicle pile-up.
Azad had his Hackney Carriage and private hire licence revoked by South Tyneside Council after he admitted a careless driving charge at court.
Mrs Bootes, 33, says she felt ‘sick’ when she heard of another four-vehicle crash on the road yesterday morning.
Although police said no one was seriously injured in the crash at 10.40am on the sliproad from Edinburgh Road, off the Scotch Estate, between a Mercedes Sprinter van, a Vauxhall Transporter van, a Vauxhall Astra and a Mazda Antares, the collision led to the road being sealed off for an hour.
Mrs Bootes is calling for all drivers to slow down and take extra care and is urging council chiefs to bolster safety on the road.
She is being backed by concerned councillor Lee Hughes – who fears the next crash could be fatal.
Lisa Bootes, 33, who lives in Centenary Avenue, South Shields, said: “I felt sick when I heard about the latest crash. When I was told the road had been closed, I thought someone had been killed.
“If I do have to read about a fatality, it will break my heart.
“There already has been a fatality – my daughter has lost the life she had. She will be disabled for the rest of her life.
“Drivers are whizzing around the sliproad and are in such a hurry. They need to be more vigilant. They have a duty of care, not only to themselves, but to others.
“There are people in cars, with young families.
“I would never wish what happened to my family on anyone else.
“The issue needs to be addressed.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Road safety is an important issue for the council and we are constantly assessing road traffic accident information to give us a clearer picture of the hazards involved on the borough’s roads.
“This particular incident is currently being dealt with by the police and until the circumstances of the accident have been established, then we are unable to comment any further on this.
“Should the police require South Tyneside’s assistance in this matter then we will endeavour to help where possible.”
Councillor: ‘The next time could be a fatality’
Independent councillor Lee Hughes, who represents the Bede ward, said: “There have been a number of crashes on this route.
“And last year, there was a little girl (Jessica Bootes) who was badly injured in a crash on Leam Lane.
“It’s a case of how many crashes does there have to be before we take action.
“There is a bigger waiting accident waiting to happen.
“The next time could be a fatality.”
Coun Hughes says drivers trying to ‘push and bully’ their way on to the carriageway from the sliproad on the Scoth Estate are needlessly putting lives at risk.
He is eager for South Tyneside Council to explore ways to bolster safety on the busy route – but is also calling on motorists to put their brains in gear when on the road.
Coun Hughes added: “Drivers are coming off the Scotch Estate sliproad, which is a small sliproad, and many are trying to push and bully their way onto the carriageway.”
“They need to show a bit more patience and slow down.”