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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 15:55 GMT
Spillage theory in family crash
Ann Copeland with her daughters Ciara and Niamh
Ann Copeland and her daughters died in the crash
Police investigating a crash which claimed the lives of a woman and her two daughters believe there could have been a spillage on the road.

Ann Copeland, 45, and her daughters Ciara, seven, and Niamh, 10, died as a result of the A92 crash on Wednesday.

The accident happened on the Inverbervie to North Water Bridge road.

Sgt Norman Stewart from Grampian Police urged anyone who saw a spillage or something fall from a vehicle before 0845 GMT to contact officers.

"As is normal following these type of tragic events we are looking at various lines of enquiry, part of which includes the condition of the road surface at the time of the crash," he said.

"Early indications from the collision investigation team suggest that something had been spilled onto the road before the collision.

What I want to establish is -'Did you see anything on the road surface south of Inverbervie? 'Did you see anything spilling or dropping from a vehicle?
Sgt Norman Stewart

"I would ask any motorist who travelled on the A92 between Inverbervie and Montrose yesterday morning prior to the crash, which happened at 8.45am, to contact the police.

"What I want to establish is -'Did you see anything on the road surface south of Inverbervie? 'Did you see anything spilling or dropping from a vehicle?'"

He asked anyone with information to contact police on 0845 6005700.

"Even if members of the public did not notice any form of spillage, it would be helpful if they could contact us to enable us to accurately establish the time at which the spillage may have occurred," he added.

"I would however stress that this is just one aspect of the overall enquiry, which continues."

The accident happened on a double bend, known to be an accident blackspot.

Scene of the accident
The accident happened on the A92 in Aberdeenshire

It is thought the children's father Barry, who is a PE teacher at Lathallan School, was told of the deaths at work.

The family, who were travelling in a Citroen Saxo, were from the coastal village of Johnshaven in Aberdeenshire.

A 60-year-old man and 51-year-old woman, who were travelling in the other car, a Citroen Berlingo, are being treated at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, and will be interviewed by police.

Ch Insp Tom Forrester said: "No-one has been charged at this stage. As is normal in a fatal road traffic collision a full report will be submitted in due course to the procurator fiscal."

Three other cars collided as they came across the crash on the corner at the same time. Police said their injuries were not serious.

They were beautiful girls. The whole community will be in shock

Ms Copeland is believed to have been taking the children to their school in nearby Montrose at the time.

A shocked neighbour said: "They were beautiful girls.

"They were always playing together in the back garden. The whole community will be in shock.

"It's just tragic."

Ms Copeland was originally from Ireland. The couple had moved to a house looking out onto the beach more than 10 years ago, before the girls were born.

A woman, who lives in the area but who did not wish to be named, said: "Road accidents happen in this area at least once a week.

"The road is really bad. There have been a few trees and fences ploughed down over the years and they have even tried putting non-slip surfacing down.

"But nothing seems to have made a difference. It's notorious for crashes."

Safety improvements

The road was closed for more than eight-and-a-half hours.

Ch Insp Forrester added: "All the factors involved, including the weather, road conditions and information from witnesses will be taken into account.

"We are aware of the concerns of the local community with regard to the road and we shall be consulting with Aberdeenshire Council, who have responsibility for the road, to see if there is a case for introducing any road safety improvements to be made.

"There will be a site visit in due course."

Anyone who witnessed the accident or saw either of the cars before the collision is asked to contact Grampian Police on 0845 600 5700.

Woman and daughters die in crash
09 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles

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