Inquest hears how driver's misjudgement caused death crash on A505 between Baldock and Royston

AN elderly woman died when her husband made an error of judgement while driving the family car along the A505 an inquest heard today. Joyce Littlewood, 79, of Common View, Letchworth GC, died at the scene of the crash on January 17 when the family Suzuki

AN elderly woman died when her husband made an error of judgement while driving the family car along the A505 an inquest heard today.

Joyce Littlewood, 79, of Common View, Letchworth GC, died at the scene of the crash on January 17 when the family Suzuki Alto she was a passenger in and driven by her husband John Littlewood, collided with a van near the junction for Ashwell Station, and rolled over and then hit a tree.

Mr Littlewood told the inquest that he and his wife were on their way to Melbourn to buy fresh eggs, something they did every week. But instead of going on their regular day of Sunday they had gone on a Saturday instead after shopping in Letchworth GC.

Tracey Desborough, who witnessed the tragedy while waiting in her car to pull on to the A505 from the Ashwell turn, said: "It can be quite a dodgy turning.


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"I saw Mr Littlewood's car in the left-hand lane and a white van in the outside lane.

"I was waiting for them to go past and when they were side by side the car clipped the van and I remember it going into the air but don't remember it hitting the tree.

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"I then pulled out and went up to the car and put my hazard lights on and called an ambulance."

Nicholas Duncan, the driver of the white van was returning home to Royston from his place of work in Letchworth GC where he was a delivery driver.

"I was gradually overtaking the car and was about level with it when all of a sudden it pulled across and I had to swerve on to the bank in the middle of the road as far as I could.

"I managed to avoid the crash barrier and pulled up 30 yards up the road from the car. I couldn't get out of the way."

Mr Littlewood said: "I indicated to move into the outside lane and saw a white van in my mirrors some distance behind. Then all I can remember is the clip when we hit each other."

Pc Ian Breacher, of Herts Constabulary's road traffic policing unit, told the inquest that both vehicles were travelling below the speed limit for the road and there were no other factors that could have contributed towards the tragedy other than Mr Littlewood misjudging the speed of the van.

Herts coroner Mr Edward Thomas referring to how the collision occurred, said: "It was a miscalculation. As we get older we tend to find it more difficult to make judgements.

"When Mr Littlewood was pulling over he was actually being courteous in allow Ms Desborough to come out of her turning. Mrs Littlewood lost her life because of the injuries she suffered and both she and her husband were wearing seatbelts."

Verdict: Accidental death.

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