Residents tell of crash horror

A VAN driver died when his vehicle hit a pub sign and crashed into two parked cars in the heart of a Suffolk village.

A VAN driver died when his vehicle hit a pub sign and crashed into two parked cars in the heart of a Suffolk village.

Diners and regulars at the The Crown Inn at Snape were having their last drinks on Saturday when the tragedy unfolded at 10.45pm.

The white Ford transit van was travelling towards Rendlesham when it left Bridge Road at the bottom of a gentle slope, crashing into the sign and careering into two cars in the pub car park.

Emergency services arrived at the accident scene within minutes but 36-year-old driver Russell Arnold, who is believed to have been the only person in the van, was already dead.

Police say Mr Arnold is believed to have lived in the Woodbridge area and officers are very anxious to trace his movements in the hours and minutes before the accident.

They have emphasised that he had not visited the pub.

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A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “We are very keen to speak to anyone who knows about Mr Arnold's whereabouts leading up to the accident.

“We would also like to hear from anyone who saw the R-reg white transit prior to the collision.”

This was the second accident near the pub in under a week. On Tuesday the air ambulance was called after a crash on the crossroads beside the pub. On that occasion one person suffered a minor injury.

Pensioner Leslie Lewis, 81, lives opposite the pub and said: “I didn't actually hear the accident but I did hear all the police and the other emergency services.

“It's a bit worrying. We had another accident here at the start of the week and had the air ambulance in.”

Vera Cable, whose 19-year-old son Roger was killed in 1973 when a car crashed into him as he was walking along the road, heard the accident on Saturday.

The 84-year-old, who also lives opposite the pub, said: “I heard this terrific thump but didn't know what it was.”

Saturday evening's accident was the second fatality of the day on Suffolk roads. During the early hours a man died when his car was in collision with a lorry at Newmarket.

Anyone with information about the Snape crash or who saw the driver or van beforehand should call Pc Steve Fisher on 01986 835 350.

A teenage girl seriously injured in an accident in Belmont Road, Ipswich, on Friday morning remains in a critical condition at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The girl, who was a passenger in the car, suffered serious head injuries when the vehicle left the road and hit a garden wall.