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Grieving mum calls for A82 action after tragic accident that killed Inverness family


By Louise Glen


Samantha Cousin (centre) with other family members who are now pushing for safety improvements on the A82.
Samantha Cousin (centre) with other family members who are now pushing for safety improvements on the A82.

A GRIEVING mum is leading the calls for urgent improvements to the A82 after a crash killed her son, his wife and two young children.

Samantha Cousin spoke out as she prepared for the funeral of Rhys and Gemma Cousin and their daughters Peyton and Heidi later this week.

Described as "ever so treasured and loved", Rhys (25), Gemma (26), Peyton (3) and Heidi (1) of Westhill, Inverness were killed in a crash at around 5.30pm on February 20 when the Mini Cooper they were travelling in collided with another vehicle at Torlundy – an accident blackspot – a few miles north of Fort William.

In an exclusive interview Samantha said no-one else should have to risk their lives on the road.

"On the evening they died, there were hailstones and visibility was probably very poor. But the road itself is not fit for purpose," she said.

"People call it the forgotten road because no-one is willing to listen about what needs to be done to improve it.

"When are those people in charge going to do something? When the next person dies? When someone rich and famous dies?

"What makes me very angry is that people in my family had to die for other people to sit up and take any notice.

"Enough is enough, I do not want anyone else to ever have to go through this.

"This is no longer the forgotten road.

"I don't want to wait to start a campaign. We need one now. No-one else should die and their family have to feel the pain we are all feeling."

The 46-year-old wants people to write to their councillors and MSPs to highlight concerns.

Figures released in 2018 showed that 186 people were killed or seriously injured on the A82 in the previous three years, including 29 serious accidents near Fort William.

Campaigners for improvements on the A82 argue lack of investment is causing accidents, while others have blamed increased traffic, saying frustrated drivers are using the route to avoid the average-speed cameras on the A9.

In the last six months, there have already been eight deaths on the Inverness to Fort William section of the A82, including the death of nursery teacher Chloe Morrison at Drumnadrochit last October.

Highland MSP Kate Forbes said: "I can't imagine the pain and grief as family members come to terms with this devastating accident.

"I recognise the points they make about the A82, which is a very busy road that stretches from Inverness to Glasgow. There have been so many fatalities on Highland roads in recent years and I have met Transport Scotland recently to discuss why that is.

"Looking at the road as a whole, there is clearly a need to invest in improving the stretch between Tarbert to Inverarnan, Onich to Fort William and through the town of Fort William itself.

"Since I was first elected as constituency MSP, I have made investment in the A82 a political priority and will continue to do so until it is safer."

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