Seatbelt may have saved teenage driver

PUBLISHED: 12:26 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

Stacey Warren

Stacey Warren

A TEENAGER might have survived when her car struck a tree in Little Wymondley had she been wearing her seat belt, an inquest heard. Stacey Warren, 19, of Kenmare Close, Stevenage, died when she was thrown from her white Peugeot after it mysteriously went

A TEENAGER might have survived when her car struck a tree in Little Wymondley had she been wearing her seat belt, an inquest heard.

Stacey Warren, 19, of Kenmare Close, Stevenage, died when she was thrown from her white Peugeot after it mysteriously went out of control on the outskirts of the village on November 30 last year.

A lover of horses, she had finished working early in a nearby stables and was driving home.

Despite an intense police investigation, officers could find no reason why her car suddenly swerved across the road out of control before colliding with a tree stump and then a tree.

Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas ruled out drink, drugs or mechanical breakdown of the vehicle as a cause for the tragedy at the inquest into Ms Warren's death.

"It is a mystery. She may have swerved to avoid an animal that caused a loss of concentration and forced her to lose control of her car," said Mr Thomas last Thursday.

"We will never know what caused the accident. There was evidence no seat belt had been used."

One eyewitness, Paul Riddle, saw the accident in his rear view mirror as he drove through the village after lunching at The Plume of Feathers.

"I glanced in my mirror and saw a car coming towards me. A second later I looked in the mirror again and saw the car move over to the other side of the road and swerve back and the car rolled over."

Pc Edward Peachment, of Hertfordshire Police crash investigation unit, calculated Ms Warren was travelling at 40mph in what was a 30mph but said speed did not contribute to the crash.

Pc Peachment was one of the first officers on the scene and told the inquest: "Stacey had been ejected from the vehicle. There was no evidence a seat belt had been worn. If it had been used she would have stayed in the vehicle. If she had not been thrown out she may not have suffered serious injury or death. If she had worn a seat belt her chances would have been much better."

The officer said Ms Warren's car was in good working order and despite a lengthy investigation no cause could be found why the teenager suddenly swerved across the road.

"Something suddenly forced her to react manually and there was a loss of control and concentration and the reaction was too much for her to control," added Pc Peachment.

Verdict: accidental death.

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