“Driver error” caused the death of teenager who died in a collision, inquest rules

The inquest was held at Lawrence Court in Huntingdon

The inquest was held at Lawrence Court in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

An inquest has ruled that a misplaced intubation tube and a “slight delay” in the ambulance service attending the scene of a road traffic accident did not contribute to the death of a 17-year-old girl from Kimbolton.

Assistant coroner for Cambridgeshire, Simon Milburn, described the death of Tallulah Hampton, of Tollfield, as a "tragic and unnecessary loss of life".

The inquest heard the teenager was the passenger in a silver Ford Fiesta, driven by Jack Simpson, and suffered "unsurvivable injuries" which included extensive lacerations to her head and spine and internal bleeding. She died at 11.23pm at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge.

Simpson, the court heard, only had a provisional driving licence, was over the drug drive limit after smoking cannabis, and after the collision at 5.10pm on August 28, 2016, he fled the scene.

The incident happened on the B645 road between Tilbrook and Kimbolton and accident investigator for Cambridgeshire police, PC John Blood, concluded that Simpson lost control of the vehicle as he was negotiating a bend.

The car left the road, mounted the verge and hit two trees before coming to a standstill. He said no mechanical defects were found on the car that would have contributed to the collision and he put the incident down to "driver error".

The inquest was told that Tallulah had been working at the White Horse pub in Tilbrook, and was picked up by Simpson at 5pm.

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Mr Milburn said there had been a "slight delay" in paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service attending the scene, but he said this was due to the "rural location".

He said two off-duty paramedics were first at the scene and called for assistance, but once the ambulance service arrived, it was the first on-duty paramedic who placed the intubation tube into Tullulah's oesophagus rather than her trachea.

A serious incident report was carried by the ambulance service who admitted the misplacing of the tube and said "lessons had been learned".

Dr John Grant, a consultant pathologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, who carried out the post mortem examination, said the injuries Tullulah sustained were not survivable, particularly the damage to the spinal chord. He said there was also "irretrievable brain damage and by the time the tube had been inserted, the damage would have been done".

Mr Milburn said: "I am quite satisfied that the injuries were so severe that the intervention of an incorrect intubation tube did not play any part in her death.

The driver lost control of his vehicle as he attempted to negotiate a right-hand bend and the car left the road and hit a tree."

The medical cause of death was fracture and laceration of the cervical spine and a cranial cervical disassociation injury.