Woman died in crash with army truck after losing control in 'freak' weather
A WOMAN was killed after she lost control of her car and crashed head-on into an army truck in "freak" weather conditions.
Linda Crow, 51, was driving home from Goole Leisure Centre, where she worked as a swimming instructor, along the A161 at Swinefleet when her car veered onto the wrong side of the road.
It is unknown exactly how Mrs Crow first lost control of her Nissan Almera, but it is thought she tried to correct the skid in "torrential" weather conditions before crashing into the truck.
Stephen Wagner, a civilian instructor based at RAF Leconfield, was driving the truck and told an inquest there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash.
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He said: "I was presented with a car on our side of the road directly in front of us. It was just there.
"You could see it was sliding towards us but the wheels were pointing in a different direction to the car.
"I had two seconds to do something, the natural reaction in a skid situation is to dip the clutch and nothing else.
"I thought if I presented the side of the vehicle there would be less of an impact but I didn't even have time to do that.
"We impacted and there was a sort of slow motion as we dropped into the ditch.
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing anyone could have done to avoid that collision."
Asked to describe the weather conditions, Mr Wagner said: "It was like driving through a wall of white with a black sky."
The truck he was driving crashed into the ditch to the right, but he and his two passengers escaped with only minor injuries.
Mrs Crow's car was ripped into two and landed on its roof with the rear part of the car projected backwards.
Mrs Crow suffered injuries to her heart, extensive internal bleeding, damage to her lungs and ribs and fractures to some of the bones at the base of her brain.
Doctors concluded she would have been likely to have died instantly at about 3.25pm on the afternoon of April 26 due to multiple head and internal injuries.
Witnesses told the inquest into Mrs Crow's death at Hull Coroner's Court the weather had unexpect- edly become torrential with hailstones, which severely reduced visibility.
The weather was described as "extreme", "unexpected" and "exceptionally bad", which seemed to be localised and over within a short period of time.
One witness described the conditions as like "driving on marbles" while another said he stopped his car completely while the storm passed.
Richard Beaumont, of Humberside Police, who examined Mrs Crow's car after the crash, said he was unable to find any evidence to suggest Mrs Crow lost control due to a mechanical car fault.
He also said although her speed was likely to be well within the 60mph speed limit, he would not expect to see such an impact if her car was travelling at a low speed.
He said: "The weather at the time of the accident can only be described as a freak and extreme weather event.
"The weather conditions were worse than significant, so even the most modest steering could lead to a loss of control."
Coroner Geoffrey Saul recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Crow's husband Adrian paid tribute to his wife of 26 years.
He said: "She was an excellent wife, a devoted mother and grandmother.
"She loved her job as a swimming instructor – I think she taught half of Goole to swim.
"I don't hold any grudges, it was down to the weather.
"She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."