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
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.