Inquest after crash victim’s death

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A YOUNG woman who was knocked down by a car died from her injuries more than five years later.

Kelly Hutchinson, 23, died in the Hawthorne Nursing Home, in Peterlee, on December 29 last year.

An inquest heard her death was caused by complications from injuries she suffered in a road accident on August 26, 2007.

The hearing at Crook Civic Centre was told Ms Hutchinson, formerly of South Shields, was knocked down as she crossed John Reid Road in the town.

“The accident was reported to us at 9.13pm,” said Sergeant Mick Soulsby, of Northumbria Police. “Ms Hutchinson was hit by a Citroen Saxo car driven by a lady called Joyce Bainbridge.

“The accident was near the junction of Perth Road and the road is quite wide at that point.

“There is a bus stop, a crawler lane from the bus stop, and two carriageways.

“Our inquiries indicated the Saxo may have been moving from lane two to lane one when the impact happened.”

The inquest heard Mrs Bainbridge was upset by what happened and she died soon afterwards.

“She said at the time she had no time to react,” added Sgt Soulsby. “She brought the car to a halt in 42m which indicates she was travelling well within the speed limit, 50mph then, now 40mph.

“Consideration was given to prosecuting her, but there are two sides to be balanced.

“The pedestrian was there for her to see, but so was her car there to see for the pedestrian.

“No prosecution was made, not least because Mrs Bainbridge became severely ill and died not long afterwards.

“Ms Hutchinson had been drinking vodka that night, and had argued with a friend, so she may have been distracted.”

A post mortem examination found Ms Hutchinson, who was brain damaged and partly paralysed, died from pneumonia.

She was suffering from an untreatable condition which led to the narrowing of her airways.

North Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle said he was satisfied the death was due to complications from injuries sustained in the accident.

Members of Ms Hutchinson’s family were informed of the hearing but did not attend.

Verdict: accidental death.