A303 Dual It: 'Don't let this road claim another life like my son'
A mother who lost her son in a road crash on the A303 is backing a campaign to dual a section of the road through Somerset and Dorset – one week before the anniversary of his death.
Santino James, 20, of Winchester Gardens, Yeovil, died in a three-car collision on the A303 in Wiltshire last November, as he drove home from Kent.
Mum Gwen James said her “life finished” the moment her son died. Now she wants people to support the Western Gazette’s campaign to dual the road from the Southfields Roundabout near Ilminster to the Mere bypass in the hope no more lives will be unnecessarily lost.
She said: “Unless it comes to your door, no one understands. It wipes a family out. It’s just finished our lives. People seem to think after a year you can be over it but we will never be the same people. It’s impossible without our lovely boy.”
Santino’s brother Justin James, 37, said: “The whole year’s been a blur. It still doesn’t seem real. I’m waiting for him to walk through the door.”
Mrs James added: “It doesn’t just devastate the family, but friends as well. They were all so close. They never stop talking about him. He will always be remembered.
“We are all behind this campaign and hope it will one day stretch as far as Chicklade where Santino died.”
Mrs James recalled the day she lost Santino, a former Buckler’s Mead School pupil who was studying plumbing at Yeovil College when he died.
She said: “I spoke to him half an hour before it happened. He was on his way back from Kent said he was going to his friend’s to play FIFA and not to wait up. We both said I love you like we always did.
“His father answered the door to the police. He was beside himself. He wouldn’t let them in at first. I think that was part of the shock because when you see policemen you know something is not right.
“I just collapsed. They had to get the doctor. Everybody was in absolute turmoil. It’s as though you are standing back from yourself and it’s not really happening. There’s a feeling of numbness and complete devastation and it never leaves, it’s for life. He was our life, with his sister and brother, and everything we did we all did together.”
Mrs James still has questions after an inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death. She believes another car was involved in the incident which could not be traced by police.
She added: “He was such a good driver, he never was a boy racer. Even when he was going to Taunton for football, I used to tell him to be careful because there has been so many accidents on that road.
“We may never find the answers but we will fight as long as we think is possible. To the police, it’s another fatality, but to the families, every minor piece of detail is important.”
The A303 is the gateway to the South West from London and the South East and carries 21,000 motorists through Somerset every day. But of the 100,000 trips made by commuters, tourists and businesses each week, one will come to a traumatic end.
This is why the A303 Dual It! campaign is urging the Government to improve the road as part of a wider scheme to save lives and bolster the economy.
Mrs James believes dualling the road will stop drivers taking unnecessary risks. She added: “Cars do race when it’s coming into a narrowing point to see how far they can go before it’s a single lane. People need to think more clearly when they are driving because for that split second of their carelessness, it can devastate families forever.
“Santino would have been all for this campaign. It’s the sort of thing he would have taken on board. All his friends want to support it too.
“I would urge people to think that it could happen to you and get behind this campaign for the sake of your loved ones. When you lose someone you will go to any lengths to stop someone else from being lost.
“To cut down on fatalities is the most important thing.”
Santino’s family and friends are planning a remembrance party on Thursday, November 8, to mark one year since his death.
A303 INTERACTIVE CRASH MAP
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