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Three dead, 20 injured in 541 accidents

By Rana Husseini - Jan 10,2015 - Last updated at Jan 10,2015

AMMAN — Three people, including one child, were killed on Friday evening in road accidents in the Kingdom as a result of the freezing weather conditions, a senior traffic official said.

“Friday witnessed the highest number of fatalities since the beginning of the storm on Wednesday,” said Traffic Investigation Department Director Lt. Col. Basem Kharabsheh.

The traffic official told The Jordan Times that when the roads became icy at around 5pm, “we witnessed dozens of accidents that resulted in three deaths and 20 injuries.”

“In the first hour after 5pm on Friday we had 100 accidents and three deaths.  The number increased to reach 541 road collisions and this is way above the daily average of accidents,” Kharabsheh said.

The official said if people adhered to “our calls to stay home and not to venture out we would have avoided 70 per cent of these accidents”.

In one incident in Ramtha, the traffic official said an 18-month-old girl was killed when the vehicle she was in overturned.

“The victim was with her father who lost control of his vehicle because of the freezing weather conditions, causing it to overturn and the child was killed instantly,” Kharabsheh said.

Two men were killed in the Shmeisani area of Amman in a pile-up that involved 10 vehicles, according to the official.

“The two victims had an accident in the Shmeisani tunnel leading to the Interior Ministry Circle at 5:20pm, and when they went out to check the damages, they were hit by a motorist who lost control of his vehicle because of the ice,” Kharabsheh said.

Other vehicles slammed into them and a total of 10 cars were involved in the accident, he added.

One of the victims was a delivery driver for a large food chain in Jordan, according Kharabsheh and Facebook users.

One of the victim’s friends claimed on his Facebook page that he was “forced to work by his manager despite tough weather conditions” at the threat of losing his job.

The Jordan Times attempted to contact the food chain restaurant for comment but no one answered the phone.

The Public Security Department (PSD) issued statements urging motorists to stay off the roads and not use their vehicles unless in cases of emergency.

Kharabsheh said traffic officials had to issue tickets to motorists who defied the PSD’s warning and drove on the icy streets causing harm to others and themselves.

“We had to issue citations to motorists who did not respond to our warnings because some were driving in a reckless manner while others abandoned their vehicles that broke down in the middle of the street and prevented rescue vehicles from reaching people in need,” the traffic official explained.

He urged motorists to abide by the PSD warning because “our main aim is to protect the lives and properties of people and ensure that help reaches those in need without any obstructions”.

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