Police accidentTHE man who died in an early morning road cash has been named by police.

He was Lee Drake, 44, from Ballynahinch, Co Down.

The incident happened on the Ballygowan Road in Saintfield around 6.20 am.

No other vehicle was involved.

Police had closed the road for a period while an investigation was carried but was later reopened to motorists.

The PSNI have revealed that officers 42 accidents in just three hours on Monday morning.

Ambulance crews were called to 15 of those incidents between 6 am and 9 am.

Ulster Unionist roads minister Danny Kennedy has ordered a review of decisions made by is department in gritting roads in the southern roads division on Sunday night.

The minister said it was too early to be sure of the reasons for Mr Drake’s death, but he acknowledged “the clear need for gritting in the southern division this morning”.

“This is an issue of public safety and not resources, and where there is any doubt in any decision to grit or not to grit I expect decision makers to err on the side of caution and that means ‘when in doubt, grit'”.

A Roads Service spokesman said that the weather forecast on Sunday evening showed that in southern division – which takes in the areas around Craigavon, Banbridge, Armagh, Downpatrick, Newry, and Kilkeel, the rain would clear and road temperatures would generally remain above freezing throughout the night.

He said that at about 3 an on Monday there was “no evidence of frost and temperatures were well above freezing”.

But he said an “un-forecast dip” in temperatures occurred around 5 am to 6 am in areas of the southern division, that “caused road temperatures to fall below freezing, resulting in the formation of frost and ice on some roads”.

“This was compounded by isolated showers which occurred across the area, falling on road surfaces which were close to freezing,” he said.

“On becoming aware of the change in road conditions Roads Service carried out gritting operations in southern division from 7 am onwards, on the parts of the salted network which had been affected.”


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