Speed blamed after seven die in rural road accident in central France

Five of the victims were aged 19 or under and the other two 85 and 90

Country road near Chartres in France with ditches on either side
The long, straight stretch of road is closed on both sides by ditches
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A car accident on a rural road in near Chartres in central France claimed the lives of seven people on Tuesday evening (June 18), with five victims aged between 17 and 19 in one vehicle, and a couple, aged 85 and 90, in another. Investigators have blamed speed as the cause.

The accident happened on the RD 921 road near Bailleau-le-Pin in Eure-et-Loire just before 19:00 on June 18.

A third vehicle, containing two people aged 21 and 23, was also hit after an initial collision. Both people were injured, one severely.

Read more: Driving in France: why are the roads more deadly than in the UK? 

‘Slim chance of survival’

"The first vehicle, driving in the direction Illiers-Combray - Chartres, with the five young people, crashed into an oncoming vehicle in which there was an elderly couple," announced Chartres public prosecutor Frédéric Blanc today (June 19).

The couple in the second car were later pronounced dead at the scene.

“The first vehicle then collided with a third vehicle that was also in the oncoming lane. The first vehicle caught fire. The five occupants died in the fire,” said Mr Blanc.

Bailleau-le-Pin mayor Martial Lochon told franceinfo on Tuesday night that it was a “horrible accident”.

“The collision was extremely violent,” he said. “The chance of survival was extremely slim.”

The stretch of road in question is particularly busy and “closed in by sloping ditches on either side”, he said.

“When these accidents happen it is often dramatic as there is no escape. It always ends head-on.”

The teenage victims, included one girl aged 17, three men age 18 and one age 19, were local. The mayor confirmed that all five were from villages within 10 to 15km of Bailleau-le-Pin.

Mr Lochon said that the mairie was “trying to treat the matter with humanity” and “help the devastated families”.

He also praised the firemen as “extraordinary” and the gendarmerie “who did everything they could”.