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INQUEST REPORT: 'Pedal confusion' led to wall crash
A WOMAN who died in hospital a week after driving into a wall in Dorchester was travelling at a minimum of 36 miles per hour at the moment of impact, an inquest was told.
Beryl Marshall, 85, died a Dorset County Hospital on December 27 last year, seven days after she hit a wall at the junction of Cambridge Road and Maud Road in her Nissan Micra.
Eye witnesses told the inquest at County Hall in Dorchester how Mrs Marshall had been travelling at excessive speed and showed no signs of stopping as she approached the junction.
Cyclist Freya Gater Ott said she had stopped at the junction when she heard Mrs Marshall approaching from behind her down Cambridge Road and ‘in the blink of an eye’ she had gone straight out at the junction and hit a wall on the other side of Maud Road.
The impact saw her vehicle damage the three-foot high brick wall and shunt a parked Audi vehicle the other side of it across to the other side of the car park.
Mrs Gater Ott said: “It did not slow down at all when approaching the junction.
“It sounded as if it appeared from nowhere, although this was due to excessive speed.”
Graham Bowler, who was walking along Maud Road, said he saw the vehicle go over the kerb and into the wall before rotating 45 degrees and coming to a rest on the other side of the wall.
Mrs Marshall, a former local government officer who lived in Dorchester, was taken to Dorset County Hospital after sustaining a head injury and fractures to her ribs, arm and patella but she later died from her injuries.
A police inspection of the vehicle could find no fault that could have contributed significantly to the crash.
Collision investigator Kelvin Edge, who confirmed that the speed at the time of impact was at least 36mph, said the two most likely alternatives were that Mrs Marshall had suffered a medical episode at the wheel or experienced ‘pedal confusion’ in that she had put her foot on the accelerator rather than the brake.
Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne said: “I have no medical evidence that she was suffering from medical problems so on balance I take the view that she suffered from some sort of pedal confusion.
“She has died as a result of an accident on the road and that is the verdict I am going to record – a verdict of accidental death.”