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Community / ‘We don’t want this to happen to anybody else’: parents speak out after serious accident on wet road

The stretch of road where the accident happened. Photo © Google 2021

TWO parents whose children were injured in a serious road accident last month have spoken out in a bid to raise awareness around the danger of surface water on roads.

Lynne Peart’s 17-year-old son Ryan and Melanie Laurenson’s son Aiden, 18, were taken to hospital after their car left the road in the one-vehicle accident north of Cunningsburgh shortly before midday on 20 November.

The car aquaplaned, left the A970 and rolled before coming to a rest on the old road down the hill.

Passenger Ryan suffered a broken neck and arm, and is thankfully on the mend. Driver Aiden came out of the accident with cuts and bruises.

A police representative told a recent meeting of the Gulberwick, Quarff and Cunningsburgh Community Council that surface water on the road was likely to have been a contributing factor in the accident.

Lynne said for Ryan “it could have been so much worse”.

She added the car was being driven appropriately, around 50mph, and that there were witnesses.

The two families feel there should be better drainage on the road, adding that concerns had been raised by someone else about its condition earlier in the day.

“We don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” Lynne said.

“Nobody should have to go through this – it really is your worst nightmare when you get that phone call to say your son has been involved in a serious road accident.”

Melanie said the police has reassured her that the accident was not to do with the way the car was being driven, adding that she is putting in a formal complaint to the council about a lack of ditches.

She claimed the amount of water lying on roads “is really not safe – especially coming into the winter months, where it might lie through the day and freeze at night”.

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“The boys nearly lost their lives,” Melanie continued. “Yes, we’re extremely lucky and so, so grateful the boys are here, but I can’t have another family going through what we went through that weekend.”

Shetland Islands Council roads manager Dave Coupe said all main roads “undergo a monthly safety inspection and water on the road at this location is not a problem that has been identified in recent years”.

But he confirmed there was “very heavy localised rainfall” in the area at the time.

The accident and police response at its meeting, however, prompted the local community council to write to the SIC’s roads department about the matter.

It also wants to hear from anyone who is aware of surface water on the piece of road. The accident in question happened just after the parking lay-by just to the north of Cunningsburgh.

Any information will be shared with the roads department as well as the police.

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