Nail in tyre ‘played a part’ in crash that killed woman

Trainee horse rid­ing in­struc­tor was on her way to fi­nal fit­ting for brides­maid’s dress

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Alison Kelly, 29, was driv­ing to Portsmouth on the A355 ear­lier this year when she lost con­trol driv­ing her blue Peu­geot 307 around a bend and started to ‘fishtail’ across the road.

Trainee horse rid­ing in­struc­tor Miss Kelly, from Water­looville, in Hamp­shire, hit the rear off­side wing of a black Mercedes SLK be­fore crash­ing into a Volk­swa­gen Golf TDI, at around 6.20pm on the evening of Au­gust 25.

Wit­ness Carl Hughes, whose black SLK Mercedes Miss Kelly hit as it came the other way, told the court it hap­pened in a ‘blur’.

“I saw the other car snaking side to side out of con­trol,” he said. “I heard a loud bang in the di­rec­tion I had seen the car.”

MrHugh­e­sadded:“There was a flash and a bang at the same time. I as­sumed my wing mir­ror had been hit but when I looked in the wing mir­ror it was still there.”

An­other wit­ness Les­ley Hawkes said: “I saw a blue car com­ing to­wards me in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. I no­ticed it be­cause it ap­peared to wob­ble in the road and go from side to side.”

She added: “I saw a blue car com­ing to­wards me in the op­po­site di­rec­tion and I no­ticed it be­cause it ap­peared to wob­ble in the road, by that I mean it was go­ing from side to side like a fish tail.”

The driver of the Volk­swa­gen was not called as a wit­ness as he could not re­mem­ber what hap­pened.

Col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor Gary Bald­win said the Peu­geot had sus­tained a mas­sive im­pact to its front end and the speedome­ter had stuck at 52mph, a ‘pretty good indi­ca­tor’ of the speed at im­pact.

He also said that Miss Kelly was not wear­ing her seat­belt.

Mr Bald­win added that a nail, ‘ac­quired very re­cently’, found in the rear off­side tyre would have caused it to loose pres­sure quite rapidly and would have ‘led to this tyre go­ing flat’.

He said: “The stresses of driv­ing and the weight of the car may have ac­cen­tu­ated the pres­sure loss.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Bald­win, this ‘large loss of pres­sure’ would have ‘se­verely com­prim­ised’ the car’s per­for­mance.

“The de­scrip­tion given by the wit­nesses would con­firm the driver’s dif­fi­culty in controlling the car,” he added.

Mr Bald­win said: “The off side tyres are the ones that are go­ing to do all the work as the car goes into the bend.

“The stresses of driv­ing and the weight of the car may have ac­cen­tu­ated the pres­sure loss.”

Con­tin­u­ing, he said: “All the weight of the car would be go­ing on those far tyres.”

Coroner Richard Hulett recorded death by road traf­fic col­li­sion, adding: “The pos­si­bil­ity was that this nail has played a part.”

Speak­ing af­ter­wards, her fa­ther, Robert, de­scribed her as an in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar girl, with 200 peo­ple at­tend­ing her fu­neral in Portsmouth.

Mr Kelly said: “She was very much a peo­ple per­son. She was so open, so bub­bly, she made friends in­stan­ta­neously.”

Mr Kelly and his fam­ily de­cided to do a joint cel­e­bra­tion at Miss Kelly’s sis­ter’s wed­ding, with a book in the cor­ner where peo­ple could pay their re­spects to her.

It raised £370 for the air am­bu­lance.

“We miss her like hell,” Mr Kelly added.

Alison Kelly

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