Daughter calls for improvements to A75 after dad of two dies three minutes from family home

Video report by ITV News reporter Barnaby Papadopulos

The family of a man who died in a crash just three minutes away from home are calling for improvements to be made to a major road in the south of Scotland.

Tony Sheil, 51, died on 24 November 2023 on the A75 between Newton Stewart and Stranraer when his van collided with a lorry on his way home from work.

A police investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The A75 stretches 95 miles from Gretna Green to Stranraer. As well as being used by commuters, it is a major freight route, with hundreds of lorries using it everyday to access Northern Ireland bound ferries from the port at Cairnryan.

Tony's partner of 36 years, Michaela Yates, said she first knew something was wrong when his phone tracker stopped suddenly as he was driving home.

"I don't know how long it was. It felt like forever," she said. "Then two police officers came and they said they think it was Tony."

Mr Sheil's daughter Samantha-Jane learnt to drive 12 months ago but has not felt able to get behind the wheel since the crash.

"I was working at the same place dad was working at and I left. If I didn't leave, I would have been behind him or with him," she explained. "That's really scary to think about."

Samantha-Jane wants the road to be improved with new safety features.

She has now launched a petition calling for changes to the road, which has been signed by over 700 people.

"I want improvements on the road," she said. "The potholes are just mad. I do want speed cameras and I did want it duelled."

£8 million to fund improvements, says UK Government

The Scottish Government has been given funds for improvements to the road, and after the scrapping of the HS2 rail line in the Autumn, the British Government announced £8 million to alleviate some pinch points on the road - an investment highlighted by the Prime Minister in a recent speech to the Scottish Conservative party conference.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson told ITV Border a route study would be carried out in 2024-2025 to investigate route wide collisions and risk reduction measures.

They added: "Road safety is of paramount importance to the Scottish Government.

"Each year, our operating companies undertake a review of collisions on the trunk road network to identify cluster sites or routes with recorded collisions that may be worthwhile of further investigation."

But campaigners who have been calling for the road to be duelled for years say more needs to be done to make it safer.

Iain Dick, of group Dual the A75, said: "In the last two years, we've seen HGVs go over at the halfway house. We've seen a horrendous HGV accident in Crocketford, we've seen a death near Sheraton in November and we've seen another death on the Annan bypass recently.

"What more evidence do you need to have to say that this road is not safe?"

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