A 22-year-old driver who attempted to avoid a head-on collision died after her car hit a parked HGV.
Georgina Mannings, of Old Rectory Close, in Westbourne, was travelling back from work on the B2146 between East Ashling and Funtington on August 14, 2015. Her boyfriend was in the passenger seat and her younger brother, who sustained serious injuries in the crash, was sitting in the back.
An inquest into Georgina’s death, held at Centenary House in Worthing on Wednesday, heard she attempted to overtake a van but lost control of the vehicle.
A statement by Mark Davey, who was Georgina’s boyfriend, was read to the inquest by coroner’s officer Helen Lawrence.
It said: “We were all wearing out seat belts. I remember everything that happened.
“We were behind a large van. It was going slowly.
“We gained speed and went to overtake the white van. We were now in the opposing lane. There was an oncoming vehicle. It was closing in on us. We were both now approaching each other at speed but there wasn’t enough room to complete the over take.”
Mr Davey said Georgina swerved to avoid the oncoming Nissan Qashqai but the car hit the grass verge on the other side of the road ‘at some speed’.
Mark Ellis had parked his 26-tonne DAF heavy goods vehicle in a lay-by – which is separated from the road by a grass verge and trees – to have a break from driving.
In a statement to police he wrote: “I thought someone had reversed into me. I remember seeing smoke coming from the vehicle. I remember how quiet it was.”
PC Stuart Medlycott, from Sussex Police serious collision unit, said the VW Polo had been travelling at 25mph at the time of impact – but he could not tell what speed the car was going when it left the road.
“Georgina attempted to overtake in the face of oncoming traffic,” he told the inquest. “She lost control of the vehicle.”
He said Georgina should have seen the Nissan driving in the opposite direction before she overtook the van, but ‘misjudged’ the distance.
A post mortem examination found Georgina died from a blunt head injury.
Describing Georgina’s death as ‘tragic’, Martin Milward, assistant coroner for West Sussex, recorded a conclusion that the 22-year-old died from a road traffic collision.
Speaking after the accident in August, parents Richard and Caroline Mannings said they were ‘devastated’ with the loss of their ‘beautiful daughter’.
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