A3 crash that killed Waterlooville woman was an accident, rules coroner

A YOUNG woman was killed after her car aquaplaned on a wet road and then flipped over, an inquest found.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 6:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:43 pm
Laura Westbrook
Laura Westbrook

Laura Westbrook, 22, of Waterlooville was driving on the A3 to get home from work in Petersfield on September 15 last year.

While overtaking another vehicle – belonging to a colleague of hers – she lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa and it flipped over, leaving her fatally injured.

Today an inquest revealed that the accident was caused by the abysmal weather conditions that night.

The colleague in question, Christopher Bedder, was arrested in connection with the incident on suspicion of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and for possession of cannabis.

He was later released and has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to the crash.

Giving evidence, PC Simon Bradbury said: ‘It is believed that after leaving work, Laura was on her way home.

‘The weather was appalling; her vehicle spun towards the central reservation and crashed. At 11.40pm she was pronounced dead at the scene.’

PC Steven Wooton explained that, although Mr Bedder was under the influence of drugs, he was not responsible for the events that occurred.

He said: ‘No evidence of any contact with other vehicles was found.’

PC Wooton explained that the likelihood was that, while overtaking Mr Bedder, Laura’s car hit standing water and aquaplaned, rolling when she went to correct the its direction.

He explained: ‘The wet road surface would not have provided much grip. She may have felt the car going and put a steering correction in.

‘The accident seemed to have occurred around the speed limit of 70mph.

‘Laura was an experienced driver, driving a vehicle she was familiar with.’

Coroner Robert Stone summarised: ‘Laura was overtaking on a foul night. For whatever reason, she lost control, crashed and she was killed.

‘There was no sign of damage to Christopher Bedder’s car.

‘There was also no evidence that Laura was driving at speed – the damage was consistent with a car travelling at speeds of 70mph.

Mr Stone said that the whole ordeal would have been over quickly

Grandmother Sylvia Westbrook paid tribute to Laura, saying: ‘She was just an amazing person. She loved life, she enjoyed her job and liked going out with friends. There was lots that she wanted to do.’