‘How many more people will have to be killed?’

The widows of two men killed on the A1 within four months of each other have spoken of their frustration following another fatality this week.

Helen Thompson, from Embleton, whose husband Ian was killed in 2009 by the bridge over the Coquet, near Felton, was diverted from the road around the time of Monday’s crash, which she said was in the ‘exactly the same spot’.

Kelly Gair’s husband Alan was killed in a head-on crash in October 2008 and this week’s death was brought even closer to home by the fact her daughter was just a few cars back when Monday’s incident occurred.

Three cars collided at around 7.43am on the northbound side of the single-carriageway stretch near Felton.

Nigel Sowerby, 37, from Cleckheaton, in West Yorkshire, was taken to the RVI by air ambulance but subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

A 49-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has since been bailed pending further inquiries.

And Mrs Gair’s 18-year-old daughter Sophie, who was travelling to college, was left extremely upset after the accident occurred seven cars in front of her.

“It gets beyond frustrating”, said Mrs Gair, of Amble. “A rush of anger runs through me because of what someone else’s family members have to go through. It’s been four years since Alan’s death and there’s been no change, we are no further forward. How many more people will have to be killed?”

Her anger was echoed by Mrs Thompson, who described the lack of progress on dualling the A1 in recent years as ‘disgusting’.

“How many more people have got to die before they do something about it?” she said.

“How many more lives have got to be devastated by this stupid road?”

Both women said that their sympathies were with the family of Mr Sowerby, who died this week.

Kelly said: “It’s causing so much heartache for so many people.

“Since I heard, I have thought non-stop about this guy’s family members.”

While Mrs Thompson added: “I just feel sorry for this man’s family.”

She said she sees the problem as the switching between single and dual-carriageway, which occurs on the A1 between Morpeth and Berwick.

“There’s nothing to warn people it’s going to single road,” said Mrs Thompson.

“A lot of people from outside the area, that don’t know the road, use it and think that it’s all dual carriageway.”

The 65-mile stretch of road between Newcastle and Berwick – half of which is single carriageway – was last year recognised as a route of strategic national importance.

And for many north Northumberland residents, it can’t be avoided, although Mrs Thompson said that she tries to avoid it if she can.

Mrs Gair admitted that she has never driven on the A1 since Alan’s death and not thought about having an accident.Monday’s incident closed the A1 in both directions for around five hours to allow for collision investigation to take place.

A BMW and a Citroen car were also involved in the collision with the VW van driven by Mr Sowerby.

A passenger in the VW van was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital with injuries, which are not thought to be life-threatening.

The driver of the BMW suffered minor injuries while the driver of the Citroen was not injured.

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses and anyone who was in the area and witnessed the collision is asked to contact 101 ext 69191.