Road death was accident inquest rules

By Connie Osborne Friday 25 April 2014 Updated: 25/04 16:15

A WOMAN who was trying to cross a dual-carriageway in Wythall died after being hit by a car, an inquest heard.

Ceri Louise Williams, from Druids Heath in Birmingham, was struck by a Seat as she attempted to reach the central reservation of the A435 near to the Beckett's Farm island on December 17 last year.

Worcestershire's Coroners Court heard last Thursday (April 17) how the 35-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene and died as a result of multiple injuries after trying to cross the road with a friend.

Gary Latham said he was driving home from work in the direction of the Maypole and overtook a car in front of him at about 60mph.

"I remember seeing two girls in the lane, I then braked and swerved over to the other lane. I missed one girl and hit the second."

The 46-year-old said he was driving with his dipped beams on at the time as to not dazzle the driver in front as he overtook, but said the road was pitch black.

"I felt like they were two yards in front of me," he added.

Mr Latham said he had drunk two pints of Stella that evening but when brethalysed at the scene was found to be well below the drink drive limit.

Witness Linton Harrison, who was driving back from Oxfordshire with his elderly mother, said: "What haunts me still is the fact when I saw them in the lights they seemed to be walking.

"I would have expected to see them running well before that."

A collision investigator said there were no faults with Mr Latham's vehicle which could have contributed to the accident and he would have had just over one second to react after seeing the pair.

A toxicology report showed Ms Williams had 99 milligrammes per litre of alcohol in her blood which would be over the drink drive limit.

It also showed low levels of cannabis, cocaine, methadone, heroin and anti-depressants, which toxicologists believed could have affected her central nervous system and may have caused drowsiness, dizziness and confusion.

There was no sign of any pre-existing illness or medical emergency such as a heart attack.

Coroner Geraint Williams said Ms Williams made a 'foolish' decision to cross the unlit carriageway on a dark night and had probably misjudged the speed the cars were travelling at due to her intoxicated state.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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