Black week on Harrogate’s roads

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Two people have been killed and a third is fighting for his life after a week of chaos on the district’s roads.

Emergency services were called out to six separate incidents over three days last weekend, with Harrogate brought to a standstill by three major crashes on Monday alone.

Firefighters, paramedics and police worked together to help those trapped and injured, but two men have died and a third is in a critical condition after being airlifted to hospital.

Police are now pleading with drivers to be careful on the roads, despite the differing circumstances of each of the crashes. “Do take extra care,” said TS Paul Cording, of the Harrogate Roads Policing Group.

“All of these incidents are completely different. But please consider that, although it’s lovely weather, you still need to give the road your full attention.” The first major crash happened shortly after 4pm on Saturday, May 17.

A man was killed when his silver BMW 1-series left the road and crashed into a hedge at the Buttersyke Bar roundabout, south of Harrogate. He has been named as Stephen Dennis Hudson, aged 50, from Leeds. On Sunday, shortly before midnight, a man was killed after his Vauxhall Astra left the road and hit a tree near the entrance to Knaresborough Golf Club.

He has now been named as Christopher Hope, aged 53, from Knaresborough.

And a crash on Monday on the A61 near Harewood bridge has left a pensioner in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The pensioner, a rear-seat passenger, suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where he remained yesterday in a critical but stable condition.

The road was closed for several hours as firefighters fought to free the elderly man, cutting off the roof of the black Hyundai i30 he was a passenger in.

Diversions were put in place but much of Harrogate came to a halt as further crashes closed major commuter routes in and out of the town.

On Skipton Road, firefighters had to cut the roof off a car to free a woman trapped inside. She escaped with minor injuries.

In Hampsthwaite, a man was taken to Leeds General Infirmary after crashing into a wall on Rowden Lane, closing the road.

And later that evening, at 7.30pm, a man was cut free from his car after becoming trapped in a crash on the A59 near Menwith Hill.

The elderly man, who had been travelling with his granddaughter, was taken to hospital with what was believed to be serious injuries but later discharged.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to all of the above incidents, and urging drivers to be cautious on the county’s roads.

“We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area,” said TS Cording. “But when it’s sunny there are more people on the roads to enjoy it.

“When it’s raining or icy, people are cautious. But the same should apply when it’s sunny. Do take extra care.”

l Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101.