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11/13/2006
UK: Speed Camera Test Kills Retired Professor
A Lancashire, UK police car testing of a speed camera on public roads ended in a fatal head-on collision.

Peter and Jean Williams
A Lancashire, UK police car testing a vehicle-mounted speed camera device crashed head-on into a passing Volkswagen Touran November 2 on the B6254 near Lancaster. The collision killed the driver and seriously injured the passenger, both of whom had been on their way to a weekend trip to enjoy the Yorkshire Dales.

The Volvo police car that struck the minivan was acting as a "speeder" while a trailing police car tracked the Volvo's velocity with a camera-equipped VASCAR device. VASCAR is essentially a sophisticated version of a stopwatch that counts the amount of time it takes to pass between two markers. Lancashire police had never used VASCAR.

Peter Williams, 67, died the day after the accident at Lancaster Royal Infirmary while his wife Jean, 64, remains hospitalized with multiple fractures. Peter Williams had been head of biological sciences at Lancaster University before his retirement.

"Peter will be greatly missed by his wife Jean, to whom he had been married for 43 years, and by his sons, his five grandchildren, his extended family and his many friends," the Williams' sons said in a statement found in the Evening Standard newspaper. "He was a kind and generous man with a terrific sense of humor."

Police were involved in 48 fatal automobile accidents in 2005.

Source: Driver killed in head-on crash as two police cars test new speed camera (London Evening Standard (UK), 11/11/2006)

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