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Fatal ‘lapse’ led to A1307 collision

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A retired couple died after a ‘momentary lapse in concentration’ resulted in their car swerving into the path of an oncoming van, an inquest has been told.

At the inquest, held in Lawrence Court, Huntingdon today it was revealed that Reginald Towers, 75, and his 71-year-old wife Maria, of Palmers Close, Linton, were both declared deceased at the scene of the tragic accident on the A1307 in Park Hill, Horseheath, on January 9.

Mr Towers, a retired painter and decorator, was driving a silver Hyundai Matrix towards Linton, with his wife in the front passenger seat, when he mounted the near side grass verge and, in attempting to correct his steering, veered across the road and into the path of an oncoming Vauxhall Vivaro van.

Both Mr and Mrs Towers suffered multiple injuries in the resultant collision.

David Heming, Senior Coroner for Cambridgeshire, read out a statement on behalf of the driver of the Vivaro, electrician Craig Brindley, who was heading towards Haverhill when the collision happened just before 3pm.

Mr Brindley said he initially saw the Hyundai about 30 to 40 yards ahead of him.

He added: “My attention was drawn to the silver car as the driver’s near side wheels had mounted his near side verge.

“I saw him come off the verge straight towards us, side on across my path.

“I swore out loud but couldn’t say whether I had time to brake or steer in reaction before we impacted with the side of the car.

“There was a hell of a bang, the windscreen shattered and my airbag went off, my glasses came off and everything went everywhere.”

Police collision investigator Pc Matthew Bill said there was no sign of speeding and that evidence showed the accident was caused by Mr Towers hitting the verge and, in trying to control the car, sent it spinning across the road into the Vivaro’s path.

A toxicology report, the inquest heard, showed there was no alcohol in Mr Towers’ system.

The hearing also heard that no defects were found in either vehicle involved in the collision and neither of them was speeding.

Summing up, Mr Heming said Mr and Mrs Towers died as a result of a road traffic collision, adding: “It’s a deeply tragic situation. I deal with a lot of accidents in this day and age where momentary lapses of concentration have catastrophic consequences and I think what’s clearly indicated in the evidence today is that momentary lapse of concentration.”

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