‘Driver distraction’ could have been a factor in fatal crash

Margaret Oliver, the Pearly Queen of Redbridge.

Margaret Oliver, the Pearly Queen of Redbridge. - Credit: Archant

The death of two women in a collision near Broughton last year could have resulted from driver “distraction or inattention” an inquest was told on Thursday (February 11).

Joy Carr, the Pearly Queen of Southwark

Joy Carr, the Pearly Queen of Southwark - Credit: Archant

Margaret Oliver, of Chigwell, in Essex, and her sister-in-law Joy Carr, of Chislehurst, in London, were killed after their Nissan Micra collided with a Nissan Qashqai on September 19 last year.

The women were travelling with Mrs Carr’s daughter, Denise Chapel, and were on a visit to Mrs Carr’s husband at a care home in Whittlesey.

The trio had had lunch at the George Hotel, in Whittlesey, before leaving to drive home, but neither the driver nor her sister-in-law consumed any alcohol.

Mrs Oliver, 84, was driving with Mrs Carr, 76, at her side while Ms Chapel sat in the rear seat looking after the sat nav.

Travelling along School Road, they hit a Nissan Qashqai, driven by Rachel Butler, as she travelled from Mill Road.

Both cars left the road and ended up in a field nearby.

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PC Ian Gray, a forensic collision investigator with Cambridgeshire police, told the inquest that Miss Butler had right of way at the crossroads.

Mr Gray added that the Nissan Micra, driven by Mrs Oliver, would have seen the warning signs for the crossroads as it approached the junction.

These included a give-way sign inside a warning triangle as well as the road changing to hazard lines just before.

The inquest was told that both women both died of multiple injuries sustained in the crash.

PC Gray concluded that either Mrs Oliver “failed to recognise the junction or thought she had right of way,” stating the deaths were caused by “distraction or inattention”.

Miss Butler said in her statement that the Nissan Micra “had not attempted to slow down or stop”.

PC Gray, however, suggested that hedges lining Mill Road may have obscured the highway and that if they had not been there, “someone might have proceeded on a visual clue that there was a problem.”

Senior Coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming, expressed his condolences to the family of both woman and concluded that the woman had died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Mrs Oliver was the Pearly Queen of Redbridge, and Mrs Carr, the Pearly Queen of Southwark.

Paying tribute to the ladies, a spokesman for the Pearly Kings and Queens Association said: “These two Pearly Queens, who were sister-in-laws, have spent their lives with their families raising funds and promoting various charities in London and around the country.

“This is a very sad time for our association members who all knew and worked with them, so we share their loss and send our condolences to the two families.”