Letchworth teenager’s death was ‘accidental’ inquest hears

Averdict of accidental death was recorded

Averdict of accidental death was recorded - Credit: Archant

A TEENAGER, who was travelling in the car that his sister was driving, died after the car hit a deep puddle and lost control, a coroner’s court heard.

James Harpur, of Westholm in Letchworth GC, died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on October 11 last year, six days after the car he was travelling in overturned.

On Wednesday, an inquest into his death at Hatfield Coroner’s Court heard that the 18-year-old, who sustained serious head injuries, had been a passenger in the front of a silver Peugeot 206, which was being driven by his sister, Laura, when the accident occurred.

Miss Harpur, along with her brother and three of their friends, had been travelling from her workplace, The Chequers pub in Stotfold.

The crash happened in Norton Road, Letchworth GC, at the junction with Norton Bury Way.

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Pc Matthew Hollingsworth, accident investigator for Beds and Herts investigation unit, said the road was unlit road and covered by a deep puddle.

“The driver had her lights in dim beam, which is what you would expect if there is oncoming traffic,” he said.

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“The driver would not have been able to distinguish the puddle from the road surface due to the rain.”

Motorist Kelvin Brister, who jumped out of his car to help Mr Harpur, said: “It was very dark and raining heavily, there was a puddle which was in my lane, the car hit the puddle and I lost sight of the vehicle.”

The inquest heard that Miss Harpur had not been drinking and that her speed had been fine.

Coroner Edward Thomas told her: “You were in dim beam, you hit a puddle which you may not have been able to see.

“This is an accident and from the reports, your driving was reasonable on that day.”

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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