JUDGE DEMANDING ANSWERS ON SIGN

9:10am Sunday 19th February 2012

By Keighley News reporter

A judge who demanded answers over why a warning sign had not been installed at an accident blackspot 16 months after a fatal crash has criticised Bradford Council for not providing an explanation.

Judge Jonathan Rose set the Council a 14-day deadline back in December over why the “slippery when wet” sign had not be placed on a notorious bend near to the Flappit Quarry, Cullingworth.

It followed an accident involving 58-year-old Susan Jones, who suffered fatal head injuries when her car was hit by a speeding 14-tonne wagon which went out of control on the bend in August 2010.

Mark Sutcliffe, 45, of School Lane, Greetland, was jailed for 16 months in December after he admitted causing Mrs Jones’s death by careless driving.

Last Wednesday Judge Rose summonsed the Council and a representative from the Crown Prosecution Service to Bradford Crown Court today to answer his questions.

Speaking of the lack of a response, he said: “To say that I am disappointed would be something of an understatement. An order made by this court is to be complied with.”

He added that the public was entitled to have an answer as to why no sign was in place.

During the original court case, it was revealed that investigations after the crash showed that the road surface at the scene had an abnormally low grip level when wet.

Some re-texturing work had since been carried out by the Council and a temporary 30mph speed limit introduced. But the new sign had yet to be installed, despite requests from the police.

At the time of Sutcliffe’s sentencing, Judge Rose accepted that the unusual road surface was a contributory factor in the accident and said he hoped that if there was one legacy from the tragedy it would be a new sign.

Following the judge’s criticism on Wednesday, Simon D’Vali, the Council’s principal highway engineer, said: “I am meeting the police to finalise with them a response to the judge’s questions.

“The police will then send the response to the courts.”

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