Grieving family considers legal action over ‘dangerous’ Thames Ditton road where Teresa McArdle died

June 13, 2018
By

Relatives of a much-loved elderly aunt who died after a collision with a van on a road known to councillors to be potentially dangerous are considering legal action.

The family of Teresa McArdle say she may still be alive today if Surrey County Council (SCC) and Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) had acted sooner when it was warned by residents in 2014 who were concerned a fatality would happen.

Teresa, known as Billie, died from her injuries after a collision with a Ford Transit van by the Shell service station on Portsmouth Road in Thames Ditton on June 14 last year.

She was airlifted to St George’s Hospital in Tooting with serious head injuries but the 86-year-old died three days later.

She had been on her way to buy a newspaper when the crash happened near her home.

Read More

Latest on Surrey’s Roads

Nephew Danny Jones and Teresa’s sister Cherry presented a petition to SCC and EBC Local Committee calling for a pedestrian crossing near the Windmill Lane intersection.

Addressing councillors at the meeting on Monday, June 11, Mr Jones said: “It is my firm belief if action had been taken when it should have been my aunt would likely be alive today.

“The petition we have presented today is signed by 2,179 people who have signed it for a very clear and concise reason.”

He referred back to minutes from a committee meeting held in 2014 when a petition was submitted by resident Chris Gibbs on behalf of 80 people which stated “it is particularly difficult for elderly and infirm people as the road is dangerous to cross”.

In the 2014 petition, Mr Gibbs concluded: “There is very real concern among many of the petitioners that there will be a fatality here.”

A few months later in 2015, the committee heard from a report that various crossings had been considered including a refuge island but that “cyclists would be at a greater risk” and this would “require a wider section of carriageway”.

The committee at the time agreed for a feasibility study to be carried out.

Those results were presented back to the committee in March this year but the study and recommendation did not include a zebra or other signalised crossing. It did propose a refuge island and had allocated funding for it.

However, Mr Jones criticised the committee’s actions saying the study was supposed to include the requests from the original petition and that the correct procedures had not been followed.

He added: “We feel this committee has not listened to the original petition, nor have correct processes been followed, timings were allowed to slip and my aunt is dead.

“Nobody can say if she would be alive today, if the crossing had been installed in a timely fashion.

“But one thing is for sure, a grieving family would not be left with such uncertainty if it had been installed and we feel it is likely she would be alive today.”

Teresa McArdle was known as Billie
(Image: UGC TMS)

Responding to his comments, Cllr Rachael I. Lake said: “If we as a committee asked for a feasibility study relating to a request on a petition to be put in, the fact that it was changed when it left this committee concerns me.”

Responding to Monday’s petition, Peter Shimadry, senior engineer for Surrey Highways, agreed the feasibility study did not include a pedestrian crossing adding it was “what was commissioned at the time” and the correct process has been followed.

The written response states: “The consideration of a zebra or signalised crossing would require further assessment works and, should a feasible option be identified, further funding.

“The progression of the proposed scheme does not preclude the consideration of further measures on this section of Portsmouth Road.”

Committee members voted, one against, to continue with the refuge island being built and to monitor the progress at the next committee meeting in the autumn.

Chairman Cllr John O’Reilly said: “We respect and hear what they are saying and they should keep the campaign going, but the technical officers say we have this option and that given that the funding is there and it can be done it needs to be monitored regularly and a report to come back to this committee.”

Mr Jones said after the meeting the family will now seek advice from a solicitor and possible legal action against the decision.

In comments afterwards he said: “I am absolutely confident another accident will lead to a fatality and those that voted yes today for the refuge island whilst having acknowledged a break down in procedures will have to answer to the full weight of the law in the future.

“I pray for the poor families of those that will be left like us mourning the loss of loved ones.”

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/grieving-family-considers-legal-action-14778100


Famous Words of Inspiration...

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *