Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Inquest into fatal head-on collision

A FORMER Henley student was killed in a “high speed” head-on crash after she lost control

A FORMER Henley student was killed in a “high speed” head-on crash after she lost control of her car, an inquest has heard.

Emily Clements, 20, of Springhill Road in Goring, was driving along the A4074 towards Reading — known locally as the “13 bends of death” because of a high accident toll — when the accident occurred at about 8am on January 22.

After a right-hand bend a mile south of Cane End her blue Nissan Micra veered into a Land Rover Discovery in the opposite lane.

Discovery driver Annette Dart braked sharply and steered towards the verge on her side of the road but was unable to avoid a collision.

Both are estimated to have been travelling at between 45 and 50mph.

Miss Clements’s Micra spun sharply to the left just before the impact and her front driver’s side hit the front of the Land Rover.

She came to a stop in the middle of the carriageway while Mrs Dart, who was taking her son Charles to the Oratory School in Woodcote, stopped on the verge. Her son suffered minor injuries.

The driver behind Mrs Dart stopped to call 999 and administer first aid, as did the occupants of a Thames Travel X40 bus behind Miss Clements. Paramedics were on the scene by 8.25am and an air ambulance flew her to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where she died at 9.41am. The road was shut for several hours.

Six members of Miss Clements’s family, including father Brian and mother Joanne, attended the inquest at Oxfordshire Coroners’ Court last Thursday, occasionally putting an arm round each other’s shoulders.

Mrs Dart, of Twyford, told the court the impact happened “in a matter of a few seconds”.

She said: “The blue car caught my attention as it approached because its driver’s side wheels were quite far over the central white line.

“I kept my eyes fixed on the blue car and my hands on the steering wheel. It then swerved out into my path and directly towards us.

“It was sliding with its driver’s side towards me and I realised it was going to hit us so my immediate reaction was to turn to the left and hit the brakes really hard.

“I then felt a massive bang as though my car had exploded. Everything shattered — it was like being inside a bomb.”

As the Micra came into view, she said, Miss Clements appeared to be hunched forward and peering through the windscreen with her left arm stretched outwards.

The assistant coroner, Nicholas Graham, ruled the death was due to a road traffic accident but declined to speculate on its cause.

A post mortem revealed no trace of drugs or alcohol in Miss Clements’s system.

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