Call to cut speed limit on A18 to 50mph following death of mother-of-three
A ROAD safety officer has called for the A18 to have its speed limit cut to 50mph.
The call came after an inquest into the death of mother-of-three Kay Wells, whose car lost control on a bend and collided with a number of trees near Ashby Top.
Although there was no evidence the 30-year-old, of Wheatfield Drive, Waltham, was driving at excessive speed, Pc Barry Gardner, casualty reduction officer for Humberside Police, said the fatal crash was more evidence of the need to curb speed on the notorious route.
North East Lincolnshire Council is currently consulting over the proposed reduction in speed.
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There have been 20 collisions on the road in the past three years.
Ten of those were at junctions.
Pc Gardner said reducing the speed to 50mph from 60mph would add less than a minute to the journey time for motorists on the A18.
He said: "It is a high-speed road. Fifty miles an hour is not an unreasonable limit and is what we are looking at."
He said the route could be monitored with speed cameras to measure average speed of motorists along the length of the route which links the A16 to the A180.
He added: "I would urge care when driving on the A18 as I would on all roads."
The inquest heard that Mrs Wells' silver Daewoo Tacuma was spotted on a bend between the B1203 Ashby Hill and the Waltham turn-off by passer-by Graham Marshall, of Louth, who was returning home from work as a company director for a Killingholme construction firm.
He said he found the mother slumped at the wheel of the car with her daughter Lilly, 4, injured in a booster seat in the back.
The girl was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary following the crash at about 6pm on April 3.
She suffered a broken arm, a neck injury and bruising to her face. The inquest heard both the driver and passenger were wearing seatbelts.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Lincolnshire and Grimsby coroner Paul Kelly said there was no evidence of excess speed, nor a medical emergency or sudden catastrophic defect with the car.
Nor was the condition or surface of the road to blame, he added.
Mr Kelly said: "Excluding all the possibilities, we are left with a moment of transient distraction which could have led to the loss of control."
A post mortem examination revealed the driver suffered a head injury in the crash as the car spun round, first clockwise and then anti-clockwise as it collided with trees.
Crash investigator Ian Charlton said due to a lack of evidence and witnesses the only possibility remaining was that the mother may have been temporarily distracted by her daughter at a critical time.
There was no evidence she had been using her phone, he said.
Mr Marshall told how he rang 999 after stopping at the crash scene. He said the crashed car was visible despite slipping down a two-metre embankment.
He told how emergency services were on the scene quickly.
The regular user of the A18 said: "The road is challenging at times."
Following the inquest Pc Andy Widgery, of Humberside Police traffic unit, praised the public spirit of Mr Marshall.
The officer said: "His actions, while not of any help to Kay, were certainly extremely important in the care that was needed for Lilly. She was in need of immediate care."
After recovering from the crash, the four-year-old was able to tell relatives that her only memory of what happened was feeling the car suddenly go out of control and the damage caused to the windscreen.
In tribute, Mrs Kay's mother Wendy Cammack, of Brian Avenue, Waltham, said: "She was a fantastic, caring mother to three children, who were her life. They meant everything to her.
"She was also a wonderful, loving daughter and sister. This accident has left us devastated and we miss her terribly every day."
She told how Kay had picked her up to go to Cleethorpes Leisure Centre with her three children.
The two older children, Ethan and Jasmine, were dropped off at their father's home in Stainton Drive, Grimsby, before Kay drove her mum back to Waltham.
The mother said she was surprised her daughter drove in the direction of the A18 and not towards her home in Wheatfield Drive.
She said she assumed she was going to buy some tea for her daughter. She said her daughter was an experienced and safe driver and recalled seeing Lilly securely strapped to her booster seat.
She told how relatives sat by Lilly's bed for several days until she was able to be told her mother had died in the crash.
Mrs Cammack said: "As a family, however devastated we were, we tried to keep things together for Lilly. It was several days before we were able to tell Lilly her mum had died."
She said the family were giving as much "stability and support" to the three children.
Lilly's father Keith, a serving Grenadier Guard, was flown home from Afghanistan to care for his daughter.
Kay had helped raise money for Help For Heroes two years ago by hosting a charity night at The Jubilee Inn on Wybers Wood, Grimsby.