Highway crash in Purtse on Sunday leaves one dead

Scene of a traffic accident on Tallinn-Narva Highway in Purtse. Jan. 28, 2018.
Scene of a traffic accident on Tallinn-Narva Highway in Purtse. Jan. 28, 2018. Source: (Rene Kundla/ERR)

A serious traffic accident took place on the 137th kilometer of Tallinn-Narva Highway at about 1 p.m. on Sunday, claiming the life of a 70-year-old man.

The crash happened near the Ida-Viru County village of Purtse, where two passenger vehicles, a BMW and a Honda, collided.

According to initial information, a BMW traveling toward Tallinn was overtaking another vehicle when it collided with the oncoming Honda. As a result of the crash, the Honda drove off the road and into a ditch.

The driver and sole passenger of the Honda, a 70-year-old man, died at the scene.

The BMW was carrying three passengers at the time of the accident. The driver, a man born in 1985, a woman born in 1987, and a 2 and a half year old child, were injured in the crash and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Traffic at the scene of the accident was redirected in both directions, and restored at 4:39 p.m.

"The beginning of this year has been very tragic in traffic, and we are asking all drivers to be especially attentive," said Urmas Elmi, operational director of the East Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). "When overtaking [another vehicle], one must be sure it is safe to do so, and must avoid making thoughtless maneuvers in order not to endanger their own lives or those of other road users."

According to Elmi, police on the scene on Sunday worked to determine the exact circumstances of the crash. He also noted that road conditions at the scene had been very good for winter.

A criminal investigation of the accident has also been launched and is being led by the East District Prosecutor's Office.

Overtaking cause for another crash over weekend

Another traffic accident occurred in Tartu Municipality on Saturday evening, when a 41-year-old woman driving a Renault passenger vehicle attempted to overtake a bus driving in front of her. The car swerved into the edge of the road on the opposite side and the driver lost control of the vehicle, which then crashed into the bus.

In turn, the driver of the bus lost control of their vehicle, drove off the high edge of the road, spun around on the adjacent field, and came to a stop upright. The bus was carrying eight children at the time, but nobody was injured in the crash; paramedics only looked over one of the children.

"It's likely this was a case of driver error while overtaking," said Ottomar Virk, operational information service director of the PPA's South Prefecture. "Overtaking is a dangerous maneuver. This should only be done when truly necessary and very carefully — under no circumstances under any pressure or hastily."

A total of nine people have been killed in traffic accidents since the beginning of the year, four of whom died in crashes last week.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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