A lorry driver had no chance of avoiding a collision with a car driver that killed a 21-year-old woman from Boston on the A17 at Terrington Clement, a coroner has ruled.
The inquest in King’s Lynn today heard that the accident happened a few days before Christmas in 2015 at the junction with Station Road, close to the African Violet Centre.
Laura Pesterfield was intending to turn towards Sutton Bridge in her silver Astra when the collision happened, the inquest heard.
Paul Gallacha, the driver of the 40ft articulated lorry carrying poultry products, said in a statement read to the hearing at King’s Lynn County Court, that “I saw the Astra appear in front of me in my lane. It just rolled out in front of me. The driver did not look towards me”.
He said that he “reacted instinctively” but could not avoid a collision. He said in the statement: “I keep analysing this to see if I had done the right thing. I literally had a split second to react.”
Mr Gallacha said since the accident he had been badly affected by the trauma, had been off work and needed counselling.
Susan Austin, a driver of a car immediately behind the lorry, said she saw the Astra pull out in front of the lorry. “I am sure the lorry driver wouldn’t have had had time to break. He did well to control his lorry after he went into the car.”
Lewis Ngantu, who lives in Station Road, said he was in a car behind the Astra. said: “I saw the Astra pulling into the carriageway and at the same time a big lorry being there. It happened instantly. It was a massive impact and there was a fair bit of debris thrown around the carriageway.”
The inquest heard that a post-mortem examination had found no drugs or alcohol in Miss Pesterfield’s body. She had died of multiple injuries, including a broken neck.
A statement from PC Graham Brookes said he could find no mechanical defects in either the Astra or the lorry that would have contributed to the accident. He calculated that Mr Gallacha would have had less than a second to react to the car pulling out in front of him. “The collision was unavoidable,” he said.
Miss Pesterfield, who lived in Wyberton Road, Boston, had been born in Fishtoft. At the time of the accident it was reported that two children were in the car, believed to be her nephews, but they avoided serious injury.
Jacquline Lake, the Norfolk coroner, recording a verdict of death by road traffic collision offered her sincere sympathies to the members of Miss Pesterfield’s family who were present and said that she “was satisfied that there was nothing that Mr Gallacha could do to avoid the collision”.