Plea over Ripon danger road

Neighbours Greg Hunt and Jim Jones next to the damaged wall. (1303201AM)
Neighbours Greg Hunt and Jim Jones next to the damaged wall. (1303201AM)

A RIPON family woke to find their car destroyed in a late-night smash outside their home for the fifth time in five years.

Greg Hunt’s car was written off when another car crashed into it outside his home on Clotherholme Road in the early hours of Sunday, March 18, the fifth time he has seen drivers veer off the road outside his home in only five years.

After seeing four cars written off while they were parked outside his home, Greg and neighbour Jim Jones, whose own car was destroyed in a similar incident in January, are appealing for sense from city police and nearby Claro Barracks.

Speed bumps slow cars down along the stretch of Clotherholme Road between Ripon Grammar School and Outwood Academy, they said, but many drivers travelling west then speed up along two straight stretches of road towards Greg and Jim’s homes, Doublegates estate, and the entrance to Claro Barracks.

Five out of the six crashes involving the neighbours’ cars have happened between 1am and 4am, when the roads are quiet, but they fear it is only a matter of time before a car hits a late-night reveller walking home from the city centre pubs, or veers off the road at a busier time of day.

Greg said: “I have young kids and I have to ask myself whether I let them play in the front garden, or whether I am going to get hit when I go out to my car.

“I would like to see something done for the sake of the kids who walk home from school along this road. At three o’clock in the afternoon, this road is chocablock with school children. It always takes a death before someone does something.”

The two men want to see police checking speeds outside their homes to stop the spate of accidents, which they have seen worsen over the last five years.

“Five minutes after Greg’s car got hit a young lad walked down the pavement on his way home from a night out. If he’d have been a few minutes earlier, the driver would have hit him,” Jim said.

Sunday’s crash came only months after Greg’s car was badly damaged in an almost identical collision, and he has seen his garden wall destroyed three times in recent years.

He described being woken by a loud bang like a gas explosion. He ran outside to see his car crushed against a lamp post.

“I walked up to the other car wondering what I was going to see in there,” he said.

The driver is believed to be a solider with 21 Engineer Regiment at Claro Barracks but as the Gazette went to press a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed the driver had not been arrested.

The base’s Commanding Officer Lt Col Jack Nicholson said: “I am aware the police are investigating a road traffic accident that occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“We have always had high levels of support from the people of Ripon and deeply regret any damage this unfortunate incident may have caused.

“Whilst we cannot accept liability for an off duty accident we are working with those affected to ensure any damage caused is rectified.

“We are also working closely with the local police and council representatives to ensure the likelihood of such an event is minimised in future.”

Greg said: “A lot of people have asked me why I am making such a fuss about this, but I was the victim of a 90-miles-per-hour head-on collision with a drunk driver 11 years ago.

“I was badly hurt, and have never been the same since. I am quite passionate about this because it’s a killer.

“But I don’t want someone to be made an example of. The lad who crashed into my car has been punished enough.

“That’s the first time I have parked on the road since the last crash. It’s a sad job if you can’t park your car outside your own home.

“The car is actually already sold and due to go in as a part-exchange on Monday. I don’t know what is going to happen now,” Greg said.