A4074 FATAL CRASH: Americans among the three dead

Herald Series: The scene of the crash The scene of the crash

THREE men, including two Americans, died after their car crashed into a tree and rolled down an embankment.

Police were last night liaising with American Embassy staff after the three men died when their estate car crashed off the A4074 dual carriageway, just south of Oxford.

Two women in the same car were taken to hospital after the crash and were last night said to be in a stable condition.

The accident happened at about 9.50pm on Monday when the Mercedes E-Class estate left the road immediately after the turn-off for Sandford-on-Thames as it travelled towards Wallingford.

The car left the inside lane and crossed a grass verge before hitting two trees and rolling down an embankment.

The three men, aged 57, 39 and 31, were declared dead at the scene, while a 37-year-old woman and a 29-year-old woman were taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital for treatment.

South Central Ambulance spokesman James Keating-Wilkes said one of the men was found beneath the car.

He added: “We were alerted by a member of the public at about 9.50pm and sent four ambulances and a rapid response vehicle.

“Three men were declared dead at the scene. One woman was taken to hospital with head injuries while the other woman was treated for minor injuries.”

None of the victims have yet been named and police have been contacting their families.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire Fire Service said crews used cutting gear to free the victims from the car, with 15 firefighters at the scene until 12.45am.

Pc Martin Mann, of the Joint Roads Policing Unit in Abingdon, said: “This is clearly a tragic incident in which three people sadly died and two others were injured and we have launched an investigation to establish the full circumstances surrounding the collision.

“Two of the men who died – the 57-year-old and the 39-year-old – are believed to be US citizens and, as such, we have contacted the US Embassy and are working closely with them.

“I would appeal for anyone who witnessed the collision or who saw a blue Mercedes E-Class estate in the area around the time of the incident to contact us.”

During the past 10 years there have been 378 collisions on the A4074 – which links Reading and Oxford – with 23 fatal, and 64 serious crashes.

In December 2009, Richard Waddington, 27, from Yorkshire, died in a crash almost directly opposite to Monday’s collision.

The speed limit on the stretch of road where the accident happened is 70mph.

Ray Lee, 74, a former psychiatric nurse from Henley Road, Sandford-on-Thames, said: “It’s shocking to hear about the accident.

“You can hear the sirens of the emergency vehicles from our house but I didn’t hear anything last night.”

South Oxfordshire district councillor for the area John Cotton added: “It’s particularly tragic to hear that three people have lost their lives in this accident.

“Drivers should take care on the A4074, although this is a fairly straight stretch and I don’t believe it is particularly unsafe.”

The county council’s cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose said: “It’s tragic this accident should happen when everyone has been celebrating the Jubilee.

“Our highways staff are liaising with Thames Valley Police as part of their accident investigation.”

No one from the American Embassy was available for comment.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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