Death of 87-year-old Valerie Lee from Fairford after car crash at Sunhill Crossroads cannot be explained, an inquest heard
IT CANNOT be explained why an 87-year-old Fairford woman crashed her car into a Land Rover last June at a junction near Cirencester, an inquest heard last week.
Valerie Mary Lee of Lygon Court in Fairford was pronounced dead at the scene after crashing her blue Volkswagen Polo into a Land Rover Discovery at Sunhill Crossroads, near Quenington in June 2013.
The inquest on Thursday, March 20 heard that school teacher Emily Barrows and her two young children had been driving in the Land Rover towards Cirencester, along Welsh Way, at around 4pm on June 19.
Driver Mrs Barrows came to a stop at the "difficult" Sunhill Crossroads near Quenington and said she saw a bright blue car, the Volkswagen Polo being driven by Valerie Lee, stationary at the junction opposite.
"The car moved forward but then stopped. This made me think the driver had seen me," said Mrs Barrows.
She went on to say that as she pulled out of the junction Mrs Lee also pulled out. Mrs Barrows braked but said that Mrs Lee's car kept coming. The next thing she said she saw was the air bag.
"My car had come to rest on a dry stone wall and I went to get the children out. They were upset," she added.
Collision investigation officer PC Phil Reese said there was no evidence to suggest that either of the vehicles were being driven in a way which was not normal and that both cars were in good mechanical order. He also said that the Land Rover would have been in clear view of Mrs Lee.
"Mrs Lee was an experienced driver and used the car regularly," said Gloucester's assistant coroner Katie Skerrett. "We will never know why she pulled out that day; maybe it was a lapse of concentration.
"The junction is difficult and concentration is required. A trace of alcohol was found in the post-mortem of Mrs Lee but the level was well below the limit. Prescription drugs were also found but it did not show any overdose. Her death was caused by mainly fractures to the spine."
Following the inquest Mrs Lee's eldest daughter Deryn Binder said she was happy to finally hear all the details, almost a year after the incident. She added: "I'm quite pleased I know how it happened. It was a shock at the time but now I have the details I feel a bit better."
Mrs Skerrett recorded the verdict as death by road traffic collision.