East Devon man dies in a crash on the A35 near Axminster, sparking a police appeal for witnesses

Police investigating a crash near Axminster where an East Devon pensioner died are appealing for witnesses.

The emergency services were called to the A35 Abbey Gate junction near Axminster on Thursday afternoon (July 20) after reports a heavy goods lorry was involved in a crash with a Citroen car.

Police have confirmed a man in his 70s, from Kilmington, in East Devon, died at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.

Rural East Devon Police praised members of the public who ran to help in the moments after the vehicles crashed saying their swift actions – giving first aid and directing traffic away – deserved ‘tribute and commendation’.

They said: “We would like to take this opportunity to praise the actions of those members of the public who swiftly ran to assist with first aid and immediate traffic control.

“The actions of those first on scene is often mentioned in relation to the emergency services, but more often than not, it is the public who are there at that initial stage.

“The actions of those who assisted today deserve tribute and commendation.”

The road was closed for more than nine hours, reopening at 11pm.

Traffic was congested as motorists tried to find alternative routes while crash scene investigations took place, prompting police to thank the public for their patience.

Investigating officers want to hear from anyone who saw the crash, or has dashcam footage, to help piece together what happened.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “Police investigating a fatal road traffic collision on the A35 near Axminster are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

“Officers were called to reports of a collision involving a Citroen C3 car and a MAN heavy goods vehicle near the junction with the A358 at around 1.40pm, on Thursday 20 July.

“A man in his 70s, from Kilmington, was pronounced deceased at the scene. His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist police officers.

“The road was closed while an investigation was carried out at the scene. It was clear at around 11pm.”

The spokesperson added: “Officers from the Roads Policing Team would like to thank the public for their patience while the road was closed.”

Responding firefighters from Axminster and Colyton set about casualty care, while screening off the crash scene and making the vehicles and area safe.

A spokesperson for Axminster fire station said: Fire control received a call from the Ambulance requesting our Co Responder car for an RTC on the A35 at the Abbey Gate junction – following this call they also requested our fire appliance to attend.

“Crews made the decision to take both vehicles to the incident due to the details received as well as control mobilising Colyton Fire Station to attend.

“Crews immediately got to work utilising the equipment off of the Co-Responder vehicle for casualty care as well as equipment from the fire appliance to shield the scene.

“Once Colyton arrived, they assisted our crews with scene safety and management of unaffected members of the public.

“Colyton also set about making the car and lorry involved safe so neither vehicle posed a further danger to our crews.”

If you witnessed the crash, or have any information or dashcam footage to help police, report it here, or call 101 and quote log 472 of 20/07/2023.

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