Woman dies and two children have life threatening injuries following a collision on the A17 at Terrington St Clement

Scene of a crash at Terrington St Clement. Picture: Submitted

Scene of a crash at Terrington St Clement. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A road tragedy just days before Christmas left a young woman dead and two children fighting for their lives.

Community leaders spoke of their sorrow after the crash between a car and a lorry on the A17 at Terrington St Clement.

And firefighters have spoken of the harrowing scene at the tragedy, as paramedics battled to save the lives of the two boys, believed to be aged five and eight, and the dead woman’s nephews.

The woman has been named locally as Laura Pesterfield.

Miss Pesterfield, from Boston, is believed to have been driving the car, which contained Christmas presents, when it crashed with a lorry, just before 2pm on Monday at a junction.

The 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. A Facebook page for people to leave tributes has been set up here.

One of the children was put into an induced coma and airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

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The other child was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said the children were being treated for “life-threatening” injuries and were in a critical condition. They have not revealed their relationship to the woman who died.

Tony White, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service station manager at King’s Lynn, said: “When our initial commander Andy Littler arrived at the scene, his words were that it was ‘total chaos’.

“Members of the public had assisted and taken the children out of the vehicle.”

Fifteen firefighters attended and made the scene safe, cordoning it off, so paramedics could carry out their crucial efforts to save the children.

Mr White said: “It was a case of us trying to help the paramedics and to keep members of the public away. And we helped to get one of the young boys into the ambulance.

“We just feel for the family. It’s a horrible thing to happen at this time of year.”

It is believed the car had been turning right on to the A17 from Terrington St Clement when it was in collision with a lorry heading in same the direction, towards Lincolnshire.

Steven Phelps, vice-chairman of Terrington St Clement parish council, said: “It’s such a tragic loss of a young person’s life. It seems worse at this time of year, so close to Christmas, when people are driving home for the holidays.”

His thoughts were echoed by Sheryl Thompson, a former chairman of the council, who lives in the village.

She said: “It’s a tragedy at any time but even more so now, with just days to go before Christmas, when everyone is thinking about getting together with loved ones.

“Our thoughts go out to the victim’s family and friends.”

Parish councillor Dave Shepperson warned how dangerous the area around the Station Road junction was.

He said: “We have had various meetings with highways to try to make that junction safer, but were always told there had not been enough accidents there to warrant making improvements. It’s a dangerous junction.”

In October 2014, motorcyclist Steven Moulton died after his bike was involved in a crash with a car at the same spot.

After an inquest into his death earlier this month, Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said she would be making a request to the Highways Agency to ensure the speed limit at the stretch of road was clarified, although she said that speed was not a factor in the crash.

Roundabout petition

Meanwhile, a petition has been set up calling for a roundabout to be built at the site where yesterday’s accident happened.

The Change.org petition already has more than 2,000 signatures.

It was set up by Ken Skinner, who said: “I have got to ask myself just how many lives does it take before any action is taken.

“I just want the council to wake up.

“I just want to get as many signatures as possible and demand to see the person who can change it.

“There are accidents there nearly every week but no one hears about them until someone dies.”