A35 caravan crash victim's death an accident, rules inquest

Dorset Echo: CRASH HORROR: The scene of the fatal accident near Askerswell CRASH HORROR: The scene of the fatal accident near Askerswell

A WOMAN suffered fatal injuries in a crash after her husband lost control of the caravan they were towing on the A35 near Bridport, an inquest was told.

Rosemary Evans from Poole sustained serious head injuries when the Land Rover Discovery she was travelling in overturned on August 24 last year at Askerswell.

Bournemouth Coroner’s Court heard evidence from witnesses, who said they saw the caravan behind the car “weaving” or “snaking” as it came over the crest of a hill, eastbound.

Roger Tyrrell, a lecturer from Chichester travelling in the opposite direction, said he saw it “start to oscillate” before it “drifted out of control”.

“The caravan came to a stop in the nearside lane, turned 45 degrees to the flow of traffic,” he said.

“The four-by-four then started to roll sideways on the road and came to a stop in the verge.”

Mrs Evans, 48, was with her husband Mike, who was driving, and 11-year-old son Josh. Josh escaped without injury, while Mr Evans, then 52, suffered minor injuries. Mrs Evans died at Southampton General Hospital on August 27.

The inquest heard that police expert Christopher Clarke had examined both vehicles and found no defects which might explain the crash.

Craig Judd, an IT manager from Poole, read from a statement he had made to police after reading about the crash in the Echo.

He said he and his wife – driving from Bridport to Dorchester – were concerned when a vehicle towing a caravan passed them “at speed”, and they had remarked on its apparent instability.

“We heard sirens later, I remember saying something like: ‘I wonder if that is that Land Rover and caravan gone wrong’,” he said.

Mr Evans’ statement to police was read out in court, in which he said he had remembered having to brake suddenly as two lanes narrowed to one immediately before the crash.

PC Clifton Beard, who compiled a report into the incident, told the court that various factors including excessive speed, weather and poor steering could lead to a caravan weaving, and minor factors could lead to that getting out of control.

He said the sudden braking of the vehicle as the lanes narrowed would have pushed the caravan against the back of the vehicle, turning it.

Dorset Coroner Sherriff Payne said he believed Mr Evans had been the driver who overtook Mr Judd at speed, and he recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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